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Upskiller Application: Functional Skills (Maths and English) Requirement
Upskiller Application: Functional Skills (Maths and English) Requirement

Guidance for meeting the functional skills requirement of UK apprenticeships

Updated over a week ago

Overview

All apprentices in the UK must meet the Functional Skills requirements set out by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to complete their apprenticeship. There are two ways in which you can meet this requirement:

  • Provide evidence of Level 2 (or above) qualifications in maths and English

  • Complete Functional Skills exams and learning on-programme to meet Level 2 requirements.


The Application

During your application, you’ll be asked to submit Level 2 qualifications, if possible. You can find out more about the evidence we can accept here.

All apprentices must also sit Maths and English Initial Assessments in their application. This is an apprenticeship standard requirement as set by the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

If you can’t submit acceptable evidence, you must pass both initial assessments to have your application accepted and are then required to complete the Level 2 Functional Skills exams once on the program with support from the Functional Skills team.

How to submit qualification evidence during the application

You will be prompted to upload your evidence during the application. If you can access your qualifications, we would strongly recommend uploading them when you apply, as this will make it easier for our Admissions team to review your application. As long as you’ve submitted clear evidence, our team should not need to reach out to you to ask you to upload your certificates.

If you can’t access your qualifications when you’re applying, you will still have an option to submit your application.

Submitting your evidence after applying

If you submitted your application without the certificates but have now located them and want to upload them, you can do this by clicking on our Chat Widget on the right-hand side of this page. Just tell the chat widget that you want to upload certificates, and it will give you the option to submit the evidence.

Completing the Initial Assessment during the application

All apprentices must sit Maths and English Initial Assessments in their application, as this is an apprenticeship standard requirement as set by the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

You can take as long as you need to complete the assessments and are free to use a calculator or dictionary if needed.

If you do not submit acceptable evidence, you must pass both initial assessments to have your application accepted and will then be required to complete the Functional Skills Level 2 exams once on the programme.

The Initial Assessments are not the same as the Functional Skills exams, they are an assessment of whether a candidate would be able to pass the Maths and English (Functional Skills) exams once on programme.

To help prepare for the initial assessments, you can check out our resources below:

Initial Assessment Preparation (Maths): IA Preparation M.pdf

Initial Assessment Preparation (English): IA Preparation E.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English?

Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English are (usually) completed in secondary school. You can review acceptable evidence as outlined by the government here. Find out more here.

  • Why do you need to have Level 2 qualifications?

Apprentices at Level 3 and above are required to provide a full pack of evidence to achieve the qualification. This is a mandatory requirement of the apprenticeship standard as outlined by the Education and Skills Funding Agency. Within this pack must be evidence of qualifications in both Maths and English (in the title) at Level 2 or higher.

  • How do I upload certificates after submitting my application?

If you can’t access your qualifications when you’re applying, you will still have an option to submit your application. Once you have your evidence, please use our Support widget to send us a message. You’ll be able to create a ticket and attach your qualifications. Once we receive it, we will upload it for you to your application.

  • How do I request replacement certificates if I no longer have mine?

The easiest way to request replacement certificates is to contact your exam board and ask them to issue you a replacement. Please note that exam boards do charge a fee for this (the exact cost will depend on the exam board).

For guidance on how to contact your exam board, including what to do if you don’t remember who your exam board was, or the exam board no longer exists, you can check out this Help Centre article (under ‘Retrieving lost evidence’).

  • I studied abroad, will my qualifications be accepted?

Most international secondary school qualifications can be accepted for maths but not for English. This is because English is usually studied as a second language, and the guidance states that English must be studied as a first language for it to be equivalent to a level 2 qualification. We will need to see a copy of your certificate and the evidence of the grade(s) that you achieved, in the form of a grade sheet or transcript, to determine whether it is considered equivalent by ECCTIS (formerly NARIC). Please note that the final decision on what is acceptable rests with ECCTIS.

  • Do I still have to provide certificates if I pass the initial assessment?

Yes, the initial assessment is a test we must include as part of our application, in line with the apprenticeship guidelines. However, the result of this assessment does not replace the need to upload certificates.

You will need to be able to provide proof of your Level 2 qualification for you to complete the apprenticeship. If you do not have Level 2 or equivalent certificates before you enroll in the apprenticeship, the initial assessment grade will determine whether you are eligible to take our maths and English (Functional Skills) exams once on programme.

  • What happens if I’ve provided certificates but fail the initial assessment?

As long as you’ve provided acceptable evidence of a passing Level 2 (or equivalent) qualification, then the result of the initial assessment will not be taken into account, and we will be able to approve you based on the certificates you provided.

  • What is involved in taking the Functional Skills exams and how long does it take?

We have a dedicated Functional Skills team that will provide you with all the help you need to prepare for and book your exams. There are a range of course options (live or asynchronous) to help you prepare for the exam so that you can choose the amount of help and preparation you need before taking them. Find out more here.

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