Find out more about Core Skills, how they’re taught and why you should take them. 

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What are Core Skills?

Available for teaching in Scotland, Core Skills are skills and abilities which everyone needs in their work. This is true for every job in every workplace.

Core Skills have been designed to help learners on Apprenticeships and other work-based programmes to fill any gaps in their skillset. They are a compulsory part of Scottish Modern Apprenticeships, and are often taught alongside Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs).

Available at SCQF levels 3–6, the Core Skills are:

  • Communication
  • Numeracy
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Problem Solving
  • Working with Others.

Why take Core Skills?

Core Skills are defined by the regulatory body for vocational qualifications for Scotland, SQA Accreditation, as “the broad, transferable skills that help to develop the main capabilities people need to be full, active and responsible members of society”.

Employers look for Core Skills when they are appointing new staff. They also expect their existing staff to have these skills.

Core Skills are important because they help you work effectively in your present job and also prepare you for the jobs you will do in the future. Developing your Core Skills helps you deal with today’s rapidly changing world and improve your career prospects. 

How are Core Skills delivered and assessed?

In a workplace environment, the Core Skills are usually delivered and assessed in tandem with a vocational training programme and/or assessment programme such as an SVQ, as employers have identified these skills as those that are most likely to be needed in any work environment.

In some cases the Core Skills may be embedded within an SVQ but, more commonly, most Scottish Modern Apprenticeship frameworks will stipulate a Core Skills profile that a candidate must achieve in order to successfully complete the Apprenticeship programme.

Core Skills offer flexible assessment; they are portfolio based, with no externally assessed components.

Next steps

To find out more, select a subject from the Core Skills homepage.