From education to employment

Pupils get an education in WorkSkills

Work-savvy pupils are set to become the norm as brand new work-related qualifications are launched at level 1.

Delivered online through, the WorkSkills qualifications allow learners to achieve BTEC qualifications at Award, Certificate or Diploma level in areas such as how to find a job and work placements as well as developing key work skills.

The six new Level 1 additions include Searching for a Job, Applying for a Job, Preparing for an Interview, Interview Skills, Preparing for Work Placement and Learning from Work Placement. The units are part of QCA’s Foundation Learning Tier as a progression pathway for 14-19 year olds. WorkSkills has been developed by Edexcel, the UK’s largest awarding body.

The first wave of modules was launched in September 2008 and demand is high. Over 2000 learners have been registered to study WorkSkills Level 2 units online in schools since September, with the units on Searching for a Job and Applying for a Job proving the most popular options. Learners can choose units from a broad selection of work-focused modules to build a flexible, personal course of study. They can select the units that they believe will be most valuable to helping them to gain and retain a job, and then progress at work.

They are able to log-on to interactive, engaging study sessions, communicate online with peers and teaching staff, reflect on their experiences, send completed assessments through an internal messaging system and store work in a personal e-portfolio. Learners have access to advice and guidance from their online tutor or teacher who can track and manage learner progress efficiently and use comprehensive online teaching resources to assess learners’ work.

The new Level 1 units will act as a springboard to a range of further study options at Level 2. For example, vision2learn for schools offers a BTEC Level 2 Certificate in WorkSkills (QCF) which gives learners a choice of 30 online study options including ‘communication skills’, ‘team work’ and ‘job search skills’. Successfully completing this 13-credit qualification at Level 2 is the equivalent to one GCSE at grades A*-C on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

Developed in response to the demand for employable and qualified people, the WorkSkills qualifications help learners to absorb functional skills within work activities. In doing so, it meets one of the main recommendations of the Leitch report that "adult skills across all levels should be increased".

It also works towards meeting the objective that "95% of adults should achieve the basic skills of functional literacy and numeracy, an increase from levels of 85% literacy and 79% numeracy in 2005". WorkSkills has been designed to fit into the curriculum and is an excellent addition to existing BTEC, GCSE, Diploma, NVQ and vocational qualifications. Because the qualifications are gained online, learners can complete units at school or at home and they offer flexibility to those who would like an alternative to traditional classroom teaching.

WorkSkills embeds literacy, numeracy and ICT skills within each unit and as a result, learners are able to work on improving these competencies as part of their wider, work-focused qualification. Also to come in 2009 Credit-based units at Level 1 and 2 ITQ in IT User Skills (QCF) on the Qualifications and Credit Framework are in the pipeline. They will enable pupils to gain accreditation for the practical IT skills they already have while developing new IT skills too. Subjects will include email, websites, using the internet, word processing and spreadsheets.

Learners will be able to pick and mix to build a personalised course of study. For more information about Creating Careers or its vision2learn for schools or vision2learn services contact Jonathan Ovenden at Creating Careers, tel: 07730 402653 or email: [email protected]; website: or

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