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Essential Skills in the Workplace

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The ESIW programme offers you the chance to identify and address skills issues in your workplace, such as literacy, communication, numeracy and ICT.
The Essential Skills in the Workplace addresses the high proportion of adults without basic literacy, numeracy and ICT skills within the employed workforce in Wales.

The project is a European Social Fund (ESF) funded project led by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).

Working in partnership with Training Providers and employers the project aims to raise awareness of the benefits of a skilled workforce. It will identify any essential skills needs and provide additional and enhanced support to individuals in order to increase levels of essential skills within the workplace. It will also provide increased training for over a thousand essential skills tutors and mentors to provide essential skills support in new and innovative ways.

Our definition of essential skills is the ability to read, write and speak in English or Welsh, and to use mathematics, at a level necessary to function and progress both in work and society. This definition equates to a robust level 1 in literacy (including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)) and numeracy.

The Essential Skills in the Workplace programme focuses on those who are in employment but lack essential skills. It will increase and expand the opportunities to access learning in innovative settings with learning styles suited to them and contextualised to their workplace. 

As part of an integrated approach to workforce development within DfES, the essential skills support available to employers through this programme will be delivered in parallel with other skills support available to employers through Workforce Development Programme. This approach will not only ensure promotion and take-up of the Employer Pledge among employer base but will also encourage and enable employers and employees to view the essential skills support available through this project as a progression to further workplace learning.

Programme targets

Between February 2012 and 31 December 2014 it is anticipated the programme will:

  • Provide training to employed people in literacy, numeracy and ESOL up to and including level 2 with access to essential skills qualifications. Provision will be tailored to individual needs and contextualised to their workplace. Participants can  gain one or more of the identified Essential Skills Wales qualifications in Communication, Application of Number, ICT  and certificate in ESOL skills for life – speaking & listening);  up to level 2
  • Engage employers in the Employer Pledge programme to raise awareness of the need for a skilled workforce and to commit to supporting essential skills training for their workforce
  • Provide training for tutors, coaches and mentors to fill the current skills gap and deliver essential skills support in new and innovative ways.

For further information please contact:


Telephone: Business Skills Hotline on 0845 60 661 60.

This project is part financed by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

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