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Essential skills are the skills that everyone needs to get on in life. Without the ability to read, write, communicate and use Information Technology (ICT) it is extremely difficult to function in modern society.
It is estimated that poor essential skills costs UK industry more than £4.8 billion a year.
The Essential Skills Wales qualifications aim to ensure that everyone in Wales has the skills they need to succeed in life. A similar suite of qualifications is being rolled out in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Different countries place a slightly different emphasis on which skills they teach, and how they assess students, and because of this there are lots of different names for the qualifications.
What´s the difference between Key Skills, Basic Skills, Functional Skills and Essential Skills Wales?
It can get confusing, so here is a breakdown of some of the more common names you might come across when you are looking at Essential Skills.
Key Skills: this was the commonly used name for “Essential Skills Wales” before 2010 (or 2009 in some countries). These qualifications were taken by students aged 16 - 19.
Basic Skills: this was a similar set of qualifications to “Key Skills”, but designed for adult learners returning to education, rather than 16 - 19 year olds.
Functional Skills: this is the name given to the new set of essential skills qualifications in England. With both Functional Skills in England and Essential Skills in Wales, there is no distinction between students aged 16 - 19 and adults – there´s just one set of qualifications for everyone. So if all of these names are confusing you, you can think of Essential Skills Wales as Key Skills and Basic Skills rolled into one - and Functional Skills as the name given to the Essential Skills Wales qualification in other countries.
t2 are currently able to offer fully funded essential skills training throughout Wales under a contract we hold with the Welsh Government.