What are Essential Skills Wales (ESW) and Key Skills?
Essential/Key Skills allow for flexibility in whatever kind of work a person may do. Employers look for certain ‘essential/key skills’ when they are recruiting and promoting people. Essential/Key Skills are important in learning as they help a person to focus on what and how they are learning in order to get better results.
Each Essential/Key Skill qualification represents a skill that is highly sought after by employers and educational establishments and is key to individual development. Essential/Key Skills are available at Levels 1-4 and as candidates move up through the levels they are expected to:
- Draw on a wider range and more complex techniques in tackling activities;
- Take increasing responsibility for deciding how they will apply their skills to suit different tasks, problems and situations; and
- Be more aware of factors that affect their performance when working within progressively more challenging contexts.
Candidates undertaking a government-funded programme of learning, e.g. Modern Apprenticeship, are required to gain Essential/Key Skills as part of their Framework.
There are 3 Essential Skills and 3 Key Skill areas:
- Communication encourages candidates to develop and demonstrate speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, including use of images, for different purposes.
- Application of Number encourages candidates to develop and demonstrate their skills in interpreting information involving numbers, carrying out calculations, interpreting results and presenting findings.
- Information and Communication Technology encourages candidates to develop and demonstrate their skills in using ICT for finding, exploring, developing and presenting information (text, images and numbers).
- Improving Own Learning and Performance encourages candidates to manage their personal learning and career development
- Problem Solving encourages candidates to identify and select the most effective solution to a problem.
- Working with Others encourages candidates to work with others when planning and carrying out activities to get things done and achieve shared objectives.