Welcome to CAT Solutions’ Functional Skills Courses – referred to and Core Skills in Scotland, Essential Skills in Wales and Key Skills in Northern Ireland.

What are Functional Skills?

Functional skills are practical skills in English, Maths and ICT for all learners aged 14 and above. 

All of our courses are currently delivered to employers and therefore are delivered in a work-related context and designed to provide employees with the skills that employers value in the workplace.

They have become the most widely used non-GCSE qualification in England.

Why do Employers need Functional Skills?

Employers need people with good English and Maths.

Functional Skills are gaining widespread recognition across large and small employers. In the most recent and comprehensive review of what employers need from English and maths qualifications (Education and Training Foundation, Making maths and English work for all, March 2015), employers stated they:

  • are looking for the “basics” in English and need significantly enhanced listening and speaking skills, good writing, oral and spoken comprehension and improved spelling, grammar and vocabulary;
  • are less interested in ‘academic mathematics’ (e.g. algebra, calculus etc) and instead want applied and practical skills including approximation, mental arithmetic, capability with visual data, a solid grasp of units of measurement, the ability to check their own calculations and problems solving.

Employers also reported…

“problems with some of their potential recruits and employees who have difficulties in constructing e-mails, use text speak rather than properly constructed sentences, and have poor spelling and communication skills”

Employers who know about Functional Skills like them because they equip their recruits and employees with the practical and applied skills they need to operate effectively in the workplace.

Of the employers who have familiarity with Functional Skills, 87% think they are very useful or fairly useful to the world of work and see them as being an appropriate vehicle for developing the skills they need.


 Why choose CAT Solutions to deliver functions skills to your employees?

  • we offer a bespoke service that is flexible, tailored to meet your needs and those of your employees and aligned to your sector/job roles;
  • for your convenience, we can deliver our functional skills courses (either as stand-alone courses or as part of an apprenticeship) at your premises or any of your locations, such as a head office or branch or other workplace;
  • our qualified and experienced English and Maths tutors provide high quality teaching, learning, assessment and support;
  • we can cater for large and small groups of learners from your own workforce and/or from your supply chain.  

Why do Individuals need Functional Skills?

“Maths and English are central to work and life: success in these subjects is linked to better life chances and greater achievement”

Functional Skills are important because they provide young people and adults with the essential knowledge, skills and understanding that will enable them to operate confidently, effectively and independently at work and in life more generally.

They are needed by people who have not achieved a good pass at GCSE and hence have no public certification of the skills they have acquired. Some learners who have found GCSE difficult in the past are daunted by the prospect of taking it again. We have found that this group of learners find it more rewarding to master maths and English in a work-related context.

Who are our courses for?

Our courses are suitable for a wide range of individuals and fundamental to the successful completion of various wider qualifications, including Apprenticeships.

We currently only deliver our Functional Skills courses to employers, either as stand-alone courses or as part of an apprenticeship.

We will, however, be delivering Maths, English and ICT courses to individuals directly, later in 2017. We will let you know when these courses are available to book.