Functional Skills: Literacy, Numeracy & ICT
Functional skills are literacy, numeracy and ICT (information and communication technology).
Literacy is the ability to read, write, listen and speak as a method of communication. Students should be encouraged to use correct vocabulary and punctuation when writing essays and delivering presentations. Teachers should set tasks that allow students to communicate with each other, therefore improving their literacy skills.
For example, in the beauty industry, it is essential for students to be able to understand basic English language. They have to understand their clients specifications, read ingredients in the beauty products and keep up to date with emerging technology. All of this requires basic literacy skills, courses should include them and encourage students to read, write, speak and listen.
Numeracy is essential for everyone as it helps individuals develop reasoning and logical thinking skills in their everyday activities. We need numeracy to make sense of numbers, solve problems, tell time, identify patterns and show trends. For example, cookery students need to calculate weights, costs of ingredients, measure ingredients, cooking times and temperatures. These are essential skills that students in the culinary industry so must be embedded in the lesson plans.
Information & Communications Technology (ICT)
ICT is an ever-emerging field of science that every person should be familiar with and how to use it to enhance productivity. ICT provides students with an understanding of the emerging technologies and what is happening in the modern world. For example, in the plumbing industry, students are required to procure materials and reach out to suppliers over the internet. They use digital invoices, spreadsheets to record product specifications and prices and take digital photos before, during and after the job.
Teachers should encourage students to give presentations, access the internet, research new topics, and communicate through technology. This will help them develop ICT skills, this will help them in their daily life and enhance their employability.
Teachers need to ensure that they have realistic expectations from their learners. Never set tasks that are beyond the capability of the student.
Literacy, numeracy and ICT skills are crucial because they are used in many aspects of our lives. Workplace numeracy, literacy, ICT and employability skills are often used in conjunction with one another. These required skills often overlap and are necessary for any task and any industry.