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Introduction to Functional Skills
Introduction to Functional Skills

Introducing the maths and English requirements of apprenticeships in the UK

Updated over a week ago


The Functional Skills requirements are an essential aspect of completing an apprenticeship in the UK. All apprentices need to provide evidence of having Level 2 (or above) qualifications in maths and English. This guide outlines the processes and expectations for current and aspiring apprentices.

Application Process

Submitting Your Qualifications

Apprentices must submit proof of their Level 2 qualifications in both maths and English during their application process. Here are the specifics based on your situation:

  • For Career Starter Candidates: You must provide acceptable evidence of your qualifications to be approved to apply for an apprenticeship position.

  • For Current Employees: If you lack the necessary qualifications at the time of application, you will need to pass the Maths and English Initial Assessments. Should you pass these assessments, you are then required to complete the Level 2 Functional Skills exams while enrolled in the program.

Initial Assessments

All applicants, regardless of their prior qualifications, must sit the Maths and English Initial Assessments. This is a mandatory requirement set forth by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to ensure all apprentices meet the same standard of competency. Passing the initial assessment does not count as evidence of meeting the functional skills requirements.

On Programme Support

Functional Skills Journey Timeline

After the commencement of the apprenticeship, known as ‘Flying Start’ (Day 0), the following timeline applies for functional skills compliance:

  • Day 0-42 - Apprentices who applied through their employer and were not able to submit evidence during the application stage should submit this. More details about submitting acceptable evidence and how to submit can be found in the Maths and English (Functional Skills) Evidence Requirements article.

  • Day 43 - Apprentices who do not have sufficient qualifications or have not submitted appropriate evidence will be contacted regarding being enrolled onto the functional skills learning pathway and given guidance for booking exams. Due to compliance requirements, learning support or exams cannot take place before this date. More details about learning support can be found in the Functional Skills Learning Support article.

  • Day 43-6 months - Apprentices who are required to sit exams should do so within this period. More details can be found in the Functional Skills Exams Process and Functional Skills Exam Setup and Technical Requirements articles.

Completion and Certification

To fulfil apprenticeship requirements, passing the Functional Skills exams is crucial. Once an apprentice successfully completes these exams, their certification will be recorded against their personal learning record, facilitating the completion of their apprenticeship program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English?

  • Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English are typically accomplished during secondary education. For details on acceptable evidence, see the official government guidelines.

Does Functional Skills learning count as off-the-job training (OTJ)?

  • No, Functional Skills learning is considered separate and does not count as off-the-job training. This is because although it is related to the apprenticeship, OTJ is only valid if it is developing the particular knowledge, skills and behaviours from the apprenticeship standard your programme is based on.

Why are Level 2 qualifications necessary?

  • Apprentices at Level 3 and above must provide a comprehensive evidence pack, including Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English, to meet the apprenticeship standards mandated by the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

What is the difference between Initial Assessments and Functional Skills Exams?

  • Initial Assessments are evaluations taken during the application process to gauge an apprentice's foundational skills. They are not a substitute for the evidence required for Functional Skills qualifications.

Is there a cost for Functional Skills exams?

  • Apprentices funded by the Government Levy receive up to three funded attempts at each exam. Additional attempts may require funding through an external provider, where further information will be provided if necessary.

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