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Home » News » Take Your Head Out of the Sand Over Functional Skills!

Take Your Head Out of the Sand Over Functional Skills!

Functional Skills
Skills for Life Network


MLTF head in the sand

MindLeaders ThirdForce has an innovative blended solution to the challenge presented by Functional Skills.

We carried out a Functional Skills pilot with two large national employers. It was a truly robust pilot choosing learners with a range of ages, previous learning experiences and a wide geographical spread to really road test our delivery model. Our results were:

  • First Time Pass Rates: 91%

  • Average Completion Times: 8-12 weeks


Functional Skills

Functional Skills qualifications are due to replace Key Skills as a mandatory component of all Apprenticeship frameworks in September 2012. The one year countdown has truly begun, you can’t afford to ignore Functional Skills any longer.

U Skills

The MindLeaders ThirdForce unique blended U-skills for Functional Skills solution embraces all of the benefits of quality e-learning resources, qualified and learner focused Learning Support Manager support and the use of an e-portfolio. Learners’ progress can be tracked remotely and the e-portfolio is also used to deploy, mark and feedback on contextualised Functional Skills tasks. This drives true mastery of the skills and enables learners to demonstrate their functionality in the final national assessment.

Learning Support Managers (LSMs)

Rather than Key Skills assessors, Functional Skills requires fully qualified trainers. MindLeadersThirdForce has its own team of dedicated, professional, Learning Support Managers (LSMs) providing nationwide coverage. The LSMs conduct initial assessments of Functional Skills English and Maths candidates and work with them to set development targets. An LSM will support the candidate through to completion of the final Functional Skills examinations.

On-line e-portfolio

The MindLeadersThirdForce on-line e-portfolio enables the LSM’s to break the Functional Skills qualifications down into a workflow with extra learning tasks designed to develop a learner’s Functional Skills mastery. Learning support managers can create Action Plans that automatically create assessment tasks for Learners, assessments can then be marked by the LSM’s and personalised learner feedback provided.

Click here to hear a podcast with one of our LSMs.

Delivery Options

Courses can be delivered in a variety of ways: on-line over the Internet or with our tablet PC – the el-box™. Our user-friendly management system, AiMS, enables you to track and monitor learner progress. Using the on-line e-portfolio LSM’s can set work based learners short tasks to assess how well they are able to apply the new skills that they have learnt. These tasks can be marked on-line by the LSMs and individualised feedback given and additional resources provided to fill any remaining skills gaps. We can also set learners revision tests from whichever awarding organisation they are sitting Functional Skills with.

We’ll leave the last word with the most important people in the Functional Skills pilot, the learners! When asked to sum up their Functional Skills Experience in just one word, some of the answers we received were:

….”Beneficial” ….”Helpful”….”Fantastic”….”Excellent”….

Click here to download a WhitePaper which presents the results from our Functional Skills pilot and see for yourself how successful our blended delivery solution is.

Skills for Life – Pre-Apprenticeship Literacy and Numeracy programme

U Skills

We also recommend that learners undertake an adult Literacy and Numeracy qualification prior to starting an Apprenticeship framework. This allows learners to enhance their basic skills to enable them to fully engage with the demands of the Apprenticeship qualification. MindLeaders ThirdForce has its own unique blended Skills for Life solution called U-skills.

MindLeaders ThirdForce has the capability to deliver any or all elements of an apprenticeship programme, so talk to us about our one-stop-shop complete solution and the benefits we can offer. Email us at

Follow us now on Twitter @TFfuncskills or check out our blog at and share your views.

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