Why should I do a Functional Skills course? 

Are you wondering whether a Functional Skills course is the right choice for you? Whether you're looking to improve your maths or English skills, or want to find out more about Functional Skills, this is the blog for you. We'll discuss 5 reasons to take a Functional Skills course and how you can do it for free. 


You can gain a Level 2 qualification in maths or English 

Many people take Functional Skills courses to get a Level 2 qualification in maths or English. This qualification is the same as a GCSE Grade 4 (or what used to be Grade C). Employers and colleges widely recognise it. Whether you need it for work or further education, a Functional Skills qualification can open doors. 

These are nationally recognised qualifications that are needed for a wide range of jobs. 


Practical alternative to an English or maths GCSE 

If you don't have a GCSE in math or English, these courses are an excellent alternative. Many people feel confused by the way schools teach maths and English. Part of this confusion is because it was hard to see how you would use it in the real world. 

Around 175,000 people every year don't pass maths GCSE. This can lead to frustration and even to maths anxiety. Doing your Maths Functional Skills Level 2 can build your confidence. 

Functional Skills courses are about the real-life use of maths and English. You'll learn practical skills that you’ll use every day; from your weekly shop to writing a covering letter. You'll be able to use the skills you learn on these courses straightaway. As Functional Skills courses are also Level 2 qualifications, it means you have another option, if you don’t want to retake a maths GCSE as an adult.  


It’s adult learning, not back to school  

Studying for a Functional Skills qualification is not about going back to the classroom and feeling like you are 15 again. These courses are made for adults and provide you with real-world, practical skills.  

Because Functional Skills are adult education, the courses on offer are often more flexible. You can choose from various learning formats, including in-person classes or online courses. This means that you can find a course that balances with the other things that are happening in your life 


Get ahead in the job market 

Not having a maths or English GCSE can make it difficult to find jobs. Even if you are in work, you may earn less than those with Level 2 qualifications. Don’t let a lack of maths or English GCSEs hold you back. 

Employers want to see level 2 qualifications because it shows them you have good numeracy and communication skills. By gaining a maths and English qualification, you’ll show future employers that you have the skills they need. You'll also show you have the determination to improve your knowledge by yourself. This is something else employers truly value. 


It’s free 

They say that nothing in life is free. However, if you haven’t got a Grade 4 (or C) in maths or English, then you are entitled to a fully funded place on a maths or English course. This goes right up to getting a Level 2 qualification. 

You don't have to start at Level 2. At WEA, we'll check do a quick skills check to what level you are at. This is to make sure you begin with a course that is at the best level for you. We will help you find a class with people at a similar level to you. Your tutor will help you succeed in class and progress to the next level by providing tailored support. 

The government pays for these courses, so you can get a free math or English qualification. This could be your second chance to get a passing grade. 

Whether you want to improve skills, get qualifications for work, or pursue further study, functional skills is the right choice for you.

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About the author

Jessica Holloway Swift

Employability & Skills Marketing Manager

Jess is an experienced marketing manager with a special interest in employability marketing and learner engagement.