Improving your reading, writing, maths or Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills can lead to a better job or to further study like National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs).


Courses are available at different levels and you can take them at:

  • further education colleges
  • adult education centres
  • some libraries
  • other training providers

English and maths qualifications

These are sometimes called ‘Skills for Life’ or ‘basic skills’ qualifications. They’re based on national standards recognised by employers and colleges. A range of qualifications are available.

You can take an English and maths qualification if you:

  • are over 16
  • have left compulsory full-time education
  • have English and maths skills below level 2 (GCSE) standard

Subjects available

Qualifications are available in:

  • English/literacy
  • Maths/numeracy
  • ICT
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

Qualification levels

Qualifications are available at the following levels:

  • entry level (ICT is only available at this level)
  • level 1
  • level 2

Qualifications in ICT

The European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) is a qualification from the British Computer Society which is recognised internationally. You can do it in a learning centre or as a flexible distance learning course.

The Computer Literacy and Information Technology (CLAIT) course is a nationally-recognised qualification. You can study it at 3 levels - new, plus and advanced.

You can find out more about the ECDL and CLAIT qualifications on the National Careers Service website.

Find a course

You can look for courses near you using the National Careers Service course search or by calling the helpline.

National Careers Service helpline
Telephone: 0800 100 900
8am to 10pm, 7 days a week
Find out about call charges

You can also arrange for a National Careers Service adviser to call you - this won’t cost you anything.

Help with learning costs

Literacy and numeracy courses are available for free.

You may get Discretionary Learner Support if you need help to pay for your course.

National Careers Service can advise you on help with learning costs.