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What are Functional Skills?

Functional Skills are practical skills in English, Maths and ICT for all learners aged 14 and above. Functional Skills provide an individual with essential knowledge, skills and understanding that will enable them to operate confidently, effectively and independently in life and work.

They are learning tools that enable students to:

  • apply their knowledge and understanding to everyday life
  • engage competently and confidently with others
  • solve problems in both familiar and unfamiliar situations
  • develop personally and professionally as positive citizens who can actively contribute to society.

Why are Functional Skills important?

Functional Skills are important because they provide young people and adults with the skills, knowledge and understanding that they will need in order to progress and succeed in education, work and life.

Who are they for?

Functional Skills are available to all learners from Key Stage 3 upwards, whatever learning pathway they are taking. The skills taught will help students to participate and progress in education, training and employment. Working on Functional Skills helps to develop and secure the broader range of aptitudes, attitudes and behaviours that will enable students to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live and work.

What are the Functional Skills standards?

The Functional Skills standards are technical documents that define and differentiate the skill requirements for the Functional Skills qualifications. For Functional Skills assessment, learner performance will be measured on a pass/fail basis at five levels: Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2. Learners are not required to move sequentially through each level but to take the Functional Skills qualification at the appropriate level when they are ready to do so.

At what levels are Functional Skills qualifications available?

Functional Skills qualifications in English, Maths and ICT are available at Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2. Each subject area has a set of performance standards based on three key areas:

Maths
Key areas:

  • Representing - making sense of a situation and representing it mathematically.
  • Analysing - processing and using maths.
  • Interpreting - interpreting and communicating the results of analysis.

ICT
Key areas:

  • Use of ICT systems.
  • Finding and selecting information.
  • Developing, presenting and communicating information.

Functional English
Key areas:

  • Speaking and listening - making an oral presentation or report.
  • Reading - reading and understanding information and instructions.
  • Writing - writing accurately so that meaning is clear.

NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Plumbing and Heating will consist of 9 modules. 

7 of these are theory based modules. Each of these theory modules has a multiple choice exam at the end of it. The modules will be as follows:

  1. Gas
  2. Electrics
  3. Cold Water
  4. Hot Water 
  5. Central Heating
  6. Sanitation
  7. Organisation of Resources

The remaining modules are made up of 2 portfolios

  1. Workshop portfolio - consisting of your practical work completed in our workshop.
  2. On-Site portfolio - consisting of work completed on site.

Adult Level 2 Plumbing and Heating will consist of 11 modules. 

10 of these are theory based modules. Each of these theory modules has a multiple choice exam at the end of it. The modules will be as follows:

  1. Health and Safety
  2. Communication
  3. Environmental Protection
  4. Scientific Principles
  5. Site Preparation and Pipework Fabrication
  6. Cold Water
  7. Hot Water
  8. Central Heating
  9. Rainwater
  10. Above Ground Sanitation 

The remaining module will consist of a workshop portfolio completed in our workshop.

NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Plumbing and Heating will consist of 12 modules. 

10 of these are theory based modules. Each of these theory modules has a multiple choice exam at the end of it. The modules will be as follows:

  1. Health and Safety
  2. Communication
  3. Environmental Protection
  4. Scientific Principles
  5. Site Preparation and Pipework Fabrication
  6. Cold Water
  7. Hot Water
  8. Central Heating
  9. Rainwater
  10. Above Ground Sanitation 
The remaining modules are made up of 2 portfolios

  1. Workshop portfolio - consisting of your practical work completed in our workshop.
  2. On-Site portfolio - consisting of work completed while at work.


This is a 20 week course which provides the candidate with theory and practical knowledge of gas. The course runs one evening per week from 6-9pm and some Saturday mornings. This course includes training for CCN1, CENWAT, HTR1, CKR1. Once the course is completed, candidates can take their ACS exams (at extra cost). During this course, candidates will need to complete an on-site portfolio working with a qualified gas engineer. If required, we can send you an information pack with more information.