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Improving your literacy, numeracy and IT skills

Before you apply for a course or employment, it may be worth brushing up on your basic skills. 

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Certain skills – particularly literacy, numeracy and IT – are important no matter what you do in life and it’s never too late to improve them. 

If you’ve been out of learning for some time, you may have lost some of your confidence in your basic skills. Alternatively, you may feel that you never developed your literacy and numeracy as much as you would have liked. In the case of IT, things change rapidly, so it’s not surprising that a refresher is needed every now and then. 

The National Careers Service site offers a Skills Health Check tool to help you assess your current skills and identify which ones you need to improve.

Ways to develop your basic skills

  • In the Improve your skills section of Lifepilot, there are activities to help you develop the skills you need for studying at a higher education level.
  • Further education colleges offer various skills building courses, many of which lead to qualifications at different levels. Look at what's available at your local college.
  • Learndirect offers a range of online courses including in English, maths and IT, some of which lead to nationally recognised qualifications. 
  • If you are employed and in a union, find out whether skills building courses are available through Unionlearn.

Basic skills courses are often free or subsidised; find out more on the GOV.UK website.

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