Functional Skills

Functional Skills English and Maths are required to start an apprenticeship or to progress in any kind of position. They provide people of all education levels with accessible skills to improve reading, writing and communications, allow a better understanding of numbers and mathematical concepts, and are one of the most popular qualifications taken by adult learners. Functional Skills are recognised qualifications and can open up progression opportunities including apprenticeships and higher education.

How to get your Functional Skills Qualification

Health Education England has partnered with bksb and Open Awards to support the achievement of functional skills. This offer makes Functional Skills learning and assessments available to any health or social employee or apprentices who:

  • would like to take a functional skills qualification e.g. for an apprenticeship
  • would like general upskilling and to gain confidence around learning
  • need to access an assessment to progress AND
  • are ready to sit an assessment (ie. they have completed a programme of learning and can evidence that they are at the required level to achieve)


What is bksb? – YouTube

The bksb Functional Skills Process – YouTube

bksb Online Functional Skills Tool – YouTube

If you are looking to progress or want to start an apprenticeship but don’t have the English or maths grades you need, the Training Hub can help.

Step 1:

Contact the Training Hub so you can be allocated a bksb login and complete the online initial assessment. Please fill in the bksb Request Form below.

  • This allows learners to establish their current skill level and creates a personalised learning plan to build up from there.

Step 2:

Decide what Route to Learning you will be taking:

  • Upskilling route – ideal for those who just want to refresh your skills for now. This is online learning with no commitment to sit the exam (Self-directed learning route)
  • Qualification only route – if your initial assessment scores are 2.6 and above – you can take the practice paper and then sit the formal functional skills assessment
  • Study and Qualification route
    • if your initial assessment scores are between 1.5 and 2.5 – you will follow the BKSB learning pathway for approx 50-60 hrs of learning (depending on your initial assessment), then can take the practice paper and then sit the formal functional skills assessment (Self-directed learning or Supported learning route)
    • if your initial assessment scores are 1.5 or below you will need to learn via BKSB alongside additional teaching with your preferred training provider. When you are ready, you can request the exam (Supported Learning or Tutor Led learning route)
    • BKSB progress check will need to be at 1.6 to sit Level 1 assessment and 2.6 to sit Level 2 assessment

Watch this Which route is best? video to help you decide the best Route to Learning.

Types of Learning Support

Regardless of the bksb initial assessment results, there are different ways to support your learning and you may find these suited to your own learning style.

Self-directed Learning:

As bksb is an online learning tool for numeracy, literacy and IT skills, it allows anyone on an apprenticeship, on a career pathway towards an apprenticeship or looking to up skill, to conduct self-directed study on these ‘functional skill’ topics, in readiness to sit an assessment. It includes an initial diagnostic assessment, which allows you to see what level you are working at when they begin the process.

  • There’s no time limit for how long you have to achieve and will have a plan created so that you can work at your own pace. When you are ready the training hub can support you book and complete your exams.

If you would like access to bksb, please fill in the bksb Request form above.

Supported Learning:

After signing up for your BKSB login, if you feel that you would need some tutor support, the Training Hub can support you to connect to a training provider to help provide guidance.

Please complete the Learning Request Form below if you would like some tutor support.

Tutor Led Learning:

After signing up for your bksb login, you may feel that self-directed learning or supported learning is not enough for you to achieve your qualifications. If that is the case then the Training Hub can support you to find a training provider that can provide online or face to face courses.

Please complete the Learning Request Form below if you would like to attend a functional skills course.

Additional information

Functional Skills FAQ’s for learners:

View FAQs (word document)

Qualification equivalence:

Check if your current qualifications are equivalent to Functional Skills Level 2 and acceptable by the ESFA: English and maths requirements in apprenticeship standards at level 2 and above – GOV.UK (

Replacement certificates:

For replacement certificates click: Get a replacement exam certificate: Who to contact – GOV.UK (

To register for BKSB and Open Access exams:

Contact Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Training Hub

To access further online resources for Skills for Life:

Free Online Learning Tools – HASO (