Functional Skills qualifications are a set of capabilities designed to enable students to develop confidence and fluency in maths, English and information and communication technology (ICT) – a vital skillset to equip learners with the practical abilities to get the most out of their apprenticeship, employment, and everyday life.
Why are Functional Skills important?
Functional skills are designed to give apprentices the basic knowledge they need to do well in both work and general life.Functional Skills are meant to be practical – so in Maths for instance, apprentices will learn how to solve problems, use fractions and other calculations, but they will also be taught to apply this to real life situations to meet the needs of their employer.
English Functional Skills will enable learners to contribute further to scenarios at work, as it will prepare them to understand and participate in discussions, interpret pieces of writing and instructions, as well as helping them to put their point across clearly.
ICT is present in most aspects of modern living; from mobile phones, tablets and smart technology through to enterprise applications. Many careers now include an element of technology, so it is imperative that individuals are familiar with how to use the various hardware and applications available.
Functional Skills as part of your JTL apprenticeship
At JTL, we believe that our Functional Skills offering is just as important as any other area of learning. This is why we arrange for our learners to complete the Functional Skills activities as soon as possible. However, not all JTL learners will need to take Functional Skills qualifications, as this would have been achieved during GCSEs (Grade 4 and above).
Once an apprentice starts with JTL, they will be required to complete a maths and English
assessment through online learning tool, bksb. They will then go on to complete a diagnostic assessment, which will result in them being given an individual learning plan on the online system. This should be worked through in their own time and it is important that employers encourage their apprentice to complete these tasks on a regular basis.
Apprentices who have not yet achieved their GCSE Grade C or (new Grade 4) in maths and
English, will be invited to take part in three delivery days for each subject: maths, English and
ICT if required. Each learner will be allocated a dedicated Functional Skills tutor, who will ensure they are fully prepared to take their Functional Skills test(s), and that they have improved on the topics identified from their diagnostic assessment – which in some cases will require learners to attend additional delivery days.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Functional Skills training is currently being delivered one to one via telephone or by Smart Sessions through Zoom. Additionally, JTL’s online learning platform is still available for learners to access.
Functional Skills in day to day life
One person who understands the importance of Functional Skills first-hand is JTL apprentice Jorel Walsh, who overcame several challenges on the way to passing his maths, ICT and English tests.
Jorel, who now works for Skeritt Electrical Ltd, openly struggled with all aspects of Functional Skills – that is until he began his additional learning with JTL, which identified that he was in fact dyslexic. Not only did his Functional Skills tests provide this diagnosis, which had never been identified in previous learning environments, but JTL also ensured that Jorel would now receive extra support to overcome any additional obstacles that he faced as a result of his dyslexia.
This allowed Jorel to complete his apprenticeship more confidently and effectively, as he was given extra time in his exams and different coloured exam papers, as well as coloured screen protectors for his laptop, which proved to be very beneficial to him. With the help of his JTL Functional Skills tutor, Patrycja Zawadzka, Jorel passed all three Level 2 qualifications which felt like a ‘weight had been lifted off his shoulders.’
Thanks to the additional support and guidance Jorel was given at JTL, he is now able to move forward in his career and hopes to go on to complete his AM2 qualification. Jorel admitted that he already sees his dyslexia as ‘more of a blessing than a curse.’ Well done Jorel!
To find out more about how JTL’s Functional Skills offering can support you, or for any further information about Functional Skills requirements, contact JTL’s Customer Support Centre on 0800 085 2308 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.