Functional Skills

Functional skills are transferable skills that can be used across many professions and industries


Functional skills are transferable skills that can be used across many professions and industries. They are core skills you need to successfully navigate life, such as communication, numeracy, ICT, problem-solving and teamwork. They are equivalent to the GCSE and are required qualifications for apprenticeships.

Functional skills give you the ability to excel in your professional and personal life. They provide you with useful tools to handle everyday work situations. Improving your functional skills can make you more employable and enhance your career prospects.

Functional Skills Qualifications

There are three levels:

  • Entry levels 1, 2 and 3: These are mainly for people re-entering learning after a break, hence “entry level”.
  • Level 1: The same as getting a GCSE grade D-G (2017 grade 1-3) in that subject.
  • Level 2: Like getting a GCSE grade A*-C (2017 grade 9-4).

Functional skills replaced a set of older qualifications called “key skills”.

There are some equivalents, please see the Functional Skills L2 Equivalence document.

If you have a qualification which you obtained outside of the UK you can use the ENIC process to see whether your qualification can be awarded a certificate demonstrating a comparable qualification.
Click here to download an information pack and the ENIC application form.

Access to Apprenticeships

People who wish to study for a clinical based qualification, for example Student Nursing Associate, are required to have a Level 2 in Maths and English. Universities do not accept applications without these qualifications.

For some non-clinical apprenticeships you may be able to study functional skills along-side the apprenticeship, for example the Business Administration L3 apprenticeship. However, no apprenticeship can be undertaken or completed without achieving a Level 2 in Maths and English.

How to Achieve Function Skills L2

If you do not have a GCSE Maths and English grade 4-9 (A-C) or an equivalent you can study for functional skills aiming to achieve a L2 in each.


You can ask to be given to our bksbLIVE 2 - this is an online learning platform which will allow you to undertake an initial assessment to see what level you are currently working at. You can then chose to do a diagnostic assessment which is more detailed and breaks the subject down into the different elements showing your strengths and weaknesses. It also produces a learning plan for you to follow.

Further Education College

You can sign-up for classes at your local Further Education college. These are free of charge. This means you will usually attend a two class every week during term time for a period of approximately six months. This will vary depending on the college and your current level of skill.

Fast-track programme

The third option is to sign-up for a programme designed to fast-track you to the final assessment (exam) process.

Currently a pilot programme has been launched with London South bank University (LSBU) and Get Ahead (training provider). The first classes started in January 2024.

They offered two options: a three month programme requiring four hours study per week or six month requiring two hours per week. Candidates will be put forward as soon as they are ready to take the assessment (exam) even if this is before the end of the course.

This is a pilot scheme and we are waiting to hear whether there will be further course. Enquires to Daniel Gonzalez at