Key Skills qualifications

Key Skills refer to a particular set of skills that are commonly needed in a range of activities in education and training, work and life in general.

What Key Skills are

Key Skills are transferable skills which means once you've got them, you can use them in different situations. They are available at various locations, for example schools, FE colleges and other approved centres and are also offered by some employers, the armed forces and the Prison Service. Key Skills can be studied as part of a full-time or part-time course at school or an FE college. There are no minimum entry requirements and you can study them alongside other types of qualifications such as GCSEs.

Key Skills qualifications can:

  • give you more confidence in your own abilities
  • boost your CV and show employers what you can do
  • help you move on to other qualifications such as an HND or degree
  • show what you have achieved in your learning programme
  • Metropolitan and regional colleges

Subjects available

  • communication
  • application of number
  • information and communications technology (ICT)
  • working with others
  • improving own learning and performance
  • problem solving

How you are assessed

Each Key Skill is assessed separately. Your assessment is based on a portfolio you produce, which is assessed internally by your school, FE college or trainer. This will be a folder of evidence that shows you have the necessary skills to pass.

For some of the Key Skills, you also take a test, which is marked externally by an awarding body.

If you don't pass the test, you may be able to retake it as many times as you want. However, it's a good idea to check this with your particular learning provider.

Speak to your teacher at school or FE college or ask your employer about Key Skills courses available where you work.

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