Skills for Life

Fancy brushing up on some learning basics and adding a little sparkle to your CV? If you want to develop new skills or show-off existing abilities, a Skills for Life qualification could provide the boost you need to succeed.

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What is a Skills for Life qualification?

Skills for Life, also known as Basic Skills, is a national qualification designed to showcase your skills in reading, writing, maths or computing. They can help make your CV more appealing to potential employers and lead on to further qualifications, such as NVQs.

Which subjects can I study?

You can earn Skills for Life Certificates in adult literacy, adult numeracy and information and communications technology (ICT). A Skills for Life qualification in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is available, too.

Who can take them?

You’re eligible to study for the qualification if you:

  • Are over 16
  • Have left compulsory full-time education
  • Haven’t got an up-to-date English or maths qualification at level 2 on the National Qualifications Framework (like a GCSE)

Where can I study?

You can study for a Skills for Life qualification at colleges and other learning centres across the UK. Learn Direct has a search engine where you can find courses by typing ‘Skills for Life’ in the search box. Selected schools also offer the certificates to pupils aged between 14 and 16.

What if I find Skills for Life too difficult?

The courses are designed so you can study at a level that suits you. For all subjects – apart from ICT – there are three choices ranging from entry level up to level 2.

How will I be assessed?

When you feel ready you can take a test. For levels 1 and 2 you’ll be set a National Basic Skills test which has multiple choice questions. The test lasts 40 minutes and can be completed using either a computer or pen and paper. For entry level qualifications, you’ll be set tasks by your learning provider. Each qualification is graded either pass or fail. If you fail first time, then don’t worry – you can retake the test, with a different set of questions, until you succeed.


Next Steps


Updated on 29-Sep-2015

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