Functional skills are important as they essential elements of everyday life, by embedding functional skills i.e. English, maths and ICT it will give the learner with the skills and knowledge to work effectively and independently. In addition, Gould and Francis (2009:226) defined functional skills as: “the core elements of English, Maths and ICT that provide an individual with essential knowledge, skills and understanding that will enable them to operate confidently, effectively and independently in life and at work” These skills are often termed ‘transferable skills’ as they can be applied (or transferred) to different situations/contexts (Gravells, 2008). Furthermore, functional skills provide individuals with the skills and abilities they need to operate confidently, effectively and independently in life, their communities and work.
Individuals possessing these skills are able to progress in education, training and employment and make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live and work. It is expected that teachers of adult education courses will embed functional skills in their courses. The process of making use of naturally occurring activities to help learners develop functional skills is referred to as embedding functional skills, in other words, “they are there but attention is not necessary drawn to them” (Gould and Francis (2009:164). Delivering employability training within Community Task Programme allows for many opportunities to embed the skills into regular sessions. Examples of how I could achieve this in my area would be: Maths
Adding up working hours on timesheets
Planning one’s budget
Benefits of becoming self employed
Talking about savings
Taking part in group discussions/
Filling in job application forms
Skimming and scanning local newspaper when looking for a job
Completing Weekly Journal ITC
Looking for jobs online during job search sessions
Filling in online application forms
Creating/updating CVs or cover letters on Word Document
Applying for jobs by emails
By combining functional skills it is clear, applying these fundamental skills in the classroom, would help develop and in many cases improve on the basic skills previously obtained. The development of functional skills is the key to ensuring that learners are equipped with a good transferable skill set. Such a skill set will assist in developing a person’s employability and hold the gateway to well-being and prosperity. They help to make sense of daily life and enable individuals to establish for example which deals are the best for them when making a purchase, writing a letter of application or get the most from computer software at home or at their place of work.
Gould, J., Francis, M. 2009. Achieving your PTLLS Award: A Practical Guide to Successful Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector. SAGE Publications Ltd: London. Gravells, A. 2008. Preparing to Teach in the lifelong Learning Sector. Learning matters: Exeter.