Essential Skills

Defined by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) as “the ability to communicate by talking and listening, reading and writing; to use numeracy; and the ability to handle information” Essential Skills are nationally accredited adult qualifications available throughout Northern Ireland in:

Entry level is divided into 3 sub-levels, i.e. Entry 1, Entry 2 and Entry 3. Achievement at Entry level provides the basis for progression to levels 1 & 2 in Communication and Application of Number.  It also provides the foundation to other NQF qualifications such as GCSE English and Mathematics.

Who should do Essential Skills ?

These qualifications are appropriate for adults in education, the workplace, training schemes and other everyday settings who wish to:

  • improve their essential skills;
  • become better qualified;
  • improve their employment and training opportunities;
  • improve their overall quality of life and personal development;
  • progress through the national qualifications framework.            


Essential Skills at Footprints

Footprint’s is accredited through CCEA to provide qualifications in Essential Skills.  The delivery of Essential skills is managed and co-ordinated by Footprint’s Training & Education Manager, a former Essential Skills Tutor, supported by the Training and Education team.   It is Footprint’s aim to:

  • Actively promote Essential Skills within the community and to centre users
  • Ensure high standards of learning and teaching in Essential Skills
  • Support tutors engaged in the delivery of Essential Skills
  • Co-ordinate and ensure assessment and internal moderation procedures are followed
  • Ensure CCEA administrative procedures and records are followed and maintained in a secure and confidential manner. 

Essential Skills within Footprints Women’s Centre is delivered by suitably qualified Essential Skills tutors as defined by the Department of Employment and Learning.  All staff involved in Essential Skills have appropriate training to be effective in their role with regular attendance at CCEA training events.

What to Expect

With small class sizes and additional one- to-one support available if necessary, learners will be welcomed into a safe and comfortable learning environment, where they will receive support and encouragement to achieve their goals.

All learners receive an initial/diagnostic assessment including an evaluation of their own learning skills/styles which considers prior learning and achievement.  The results of this assessment are used to develop an individual learning plan for the learner.  Results of assessments and the level they are currently at will be feed back to learners on a one-to-one basis.

At Induction, information and guidance on Essential Skills, including an explanation of levels, is provided by the Essential Skills tutor.  Tutors will ensure learners achieve accreditation in Essential Skills at the appropriate level.  Learners are encouraged to work at their own pace and will only be expected to undertake exams when they feel ready.

Learners that have participated in Essential Skills at Footprints benefit in many ways: self improvement and sense of achievement; increased self-esteem; confidence to help children with homework; better employment prospects; and a desire to progress onto further learning to list but a few and not forgetting the attainment of a nationally recognised qualification.


Day Course name Starting on Duration Qualification
Thursday English Essential Skills 15 Jan 11 weeks CCEA Entry L2
Wednesday Numeracy Essential Skills 14 Jan 11 weeks CCEA Entry L2
Wednesday ECDL Word Advanced Unit 28 Jan 9 weeks BCS L3