Types of Essential Skills courses
Essential Skills are courses in English, numeracy and digital topics.
English Essential Skills courses usually take 3 to 6 months to complete.
There are 2 different subjects available for English:
- English, this covers basic English and communication skills
- English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), providing skills to help you with life in England, including reading, writing, speaking and listening
Numeracy Essential Skills courses usually take 3 to 6 months to complete.
You can take numeracy Essential Skills courses that cover:
- addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
- fractions, decimals, ratios and percentages
- shapes and measurements
- handling data
- basic formulas
Digital Essential Skills courses usually take 30 to 55 hours to complete.
You can take digital skills courses that will help you use devices, including how to:
- handle information securely
- create and edit digital documents
- successfully communicate online
- register for services and buy items online
- stay safe and responsible online
Entry requirements for Essential Skills courses
You can take an Essential Skills course if you’re aged 19 or over, live in England and for:
- English, you do not have at least a grade 4 (previously grade C) in English GCSE or a qualification that’s the same level
- English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), if English is not your first language
- numeracy, you do not have at least a grade 4 (previously grade C) in maths GCSE or a qualification that’s the same level
- digital, you have low digital skills or little to no experience of using computers or other digital devices
You can see if you have a qualification that’s the same level as a GCSE by checking what qualification levels mean on GOV.UK.
Find an Essential Skills course
Essential Skills courses can be available in the classroom or online.
You might be able to do a course full time, part time or in the evening depending on the provider.
You can find courses that suit you on the National Careers Service website.Find courses through the National Careers Service
After your Essential Skills course
After you’ve finished an Essential Skills course, you could:
- apply for jobs straight away that need your new skills
- start more advanced training to get into more skilled work
- explore other free courses for jobs