What are Essential Skills Wales qualifications?

The Essential Skills Wales suite of qualifications comprises:

  • Essential Application of Number Skills;
  • Essential Communication Skills;
  • Essential Digital Literacy Skills; and
  • Essential Employability Skills.


All Essential Skills qualifications are available from entry level 1 to level 3, except for Essential Employability Skills, which is available from entry level 3 to level 3.

Design Principles

The Design Principles outline the rationale, structure, aims, learning outcomes and assessment requirements for the Essential Skills Wales suite of qualifications.  The most up to date version of the Design Principles can be found here.

Criteria

The criteria for the Essential Skills Wales suite of qualifications were developed in collaboration with awarding bodies, four of which offer the qualifications: Agored Cymru, City & Guilds, Pearson Education and WJEC. They have been developed for use in Further Education, Work-based Learning, Adult Community Learning and alternative settings.

Assessment

The Entry Level Essential Application of Number Skills and Essential Communication Skills qualifications are assessed by a controlled task; and at Levels 1-3 are assessed by a controlled task and a confirmatory test.

The Essential Digital Literacy Skills and Essential Employability Skills qualifications are assessed by a controlled task and a structured discussion at all levels.

Review

In 2017, we conducted an extensive review into the implementation of the revised Essential Skills qualifications. Several positive findings emerged from the review. However, the review also identified a number of issues, concerns and challenges that impacted on the successful implementation of the qualifications. As a result, we published an action plan to address the concerns identified by the review.

The full report and action plan can be found here.