Adult Essential Skills

What are Essential Skills?

Essential skills are the qualifications that could help you to:
• Get the most out of life
• Engage easily with others
• Solve problems
• Develop personally and improve self confidence
• Help with homework
• Manage your finances
• Access the internet and exchange emails
• Get a job
• Get a promotion
• Study for other courses and get good results.

There are three Essential Skills

Essential Skills Communication will give you the opportunity to develop your speaking and listening, reading and writing skills.
Application of Number
Essential Skills Application of Number will give you the opportunity to use your skills in working with figures and numbers.
Essential Skills ICT aims to give you the opportunity to develop practical computer skills to use in your current or future workplace and for your own personal needs. We also offer Entry Level ICT classes for complete beginners.

Essential Skills qualifications are nationally recognised and can be achieved at a range of different levels to suit you, from complete beginners to achievement at Level 2, which is comparable to GCSE standard.

Qualification Equivalent to

Literacy Entry Level 1
Numeracy Entry Level 1


Literacy Entry Level 2
Numeracy Entry Level 2


Literacy Entry Level 3
Numeracy Entry Level 3


Communication Level 1
Application of Number Level 1
ICT Level 1


Communication Level 2
Application of Number Level 2
ICT Level 2


Who can apply?

Classes are available FREE to any adult. When you join a class, your tutor will carry out a short confidential initial assessment to help put you on the right level of study.


How many will be in my class?
Classes are small, with on average 8–14 people attending.
How will I be assessed?
For Level 1 and Level 2 courses in Communication and Application of Number assessment is through the completion of an externally assessed and marked exam. For Level 1 and Level 2 ICT it is through a portfolio only. At Entry Level assessment is by the completion of a test.
How long will it take to complete a qualification?
Classes last about two hours and usually run weekly. On average, it takes over 40 hours to complete a course but this will be determined by your needs and your tutor’s assessment.
When are classes held?
Classes are held in a range of venues, from your local community hall to your local college, throughout the day and evening depending on campus provision.
Will an employer consider an Essential Skills qualification?
Employers are increasingly accepting Essential Skills qualifications as an alternative to more traditional qualifications such as GCSEs.
Why is it necessary for me to up-skill when I am already employed?
Improving your skills brings many benefits to both personal and working life. It may lead to promotion opportunities and increased job stability. It can also assist in achieving greater job satisfaction and fulfillment.

For further information, please contact:
Majella O'Boyle
Assistant Head of Department for Essential Skills