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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Functional Skills Employers Guide

See how Learn Devon can support your team, download the Learn Devon functional skills pathway

How can English and Maths skills help?

English skills include the ability to write, read, speak, listen, and respond. Staff use these skills to:

  • Communicate with people who need care and support, colleagues, and other health care professionals
  • Write and understand care plans
  • Understand and follow risk assessments
  • Fill in an accident form
  • Complete a review of a care plan

Maths’s skills include the ability to understand and use numbers. Staff use these skills to:

  • Record fluid intake
  • Measure medication
  • Calculate body mass index (BMI)
  • Plan staff rotas and understand wage slips
  • Manage stock levels
  • Calculate budgets

Why are functional skills important?

Functional Skills are crucial to ensure your staff provide high quality care and support. The impact without these skills could mean they:

  • Struggle to read and understand procedures and policies
  • Struggle to communicate with people who need care and support
  • Don’t always take accurate measurements or readings leading to mistakes
  • Are unable to write clearly and accurately when completing care plans, leaving handover notes, or filling in charts
  • Can’t make best use of information and resources available on the internet
  • Find it difficult to achieve vocational qualifications

Table of the different awards

Functional Skills level GCSE Equivalent
Entry level 1 Below GCSE
Entry levels 2 & 3 Below GCSE
Level 1 Grades 1-3 (fail)
Level 2 Grades 4-9 (pass)

Embedding functional skills in your workplace culture

During your induction process

  • Assess ability on functional skills, use Skills for Care toolkits to help assessment
  • Identify needs
  • Career conversations, support to develop functional skills before signing on to further education


  • Have regular conversations about support with functional skills
  • Career conversations – e.g. opportunities to progress onto apprenticeships

Resource hub

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