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What are functional skills, and why are they so important?
What are functional skills?

When you begin an apprenticeship with us, you may be required to complete one or more functional skills qualifications which include Maths, English, and ICT. Within the UK, functional skills are mandatory in all apprenticeship standards – but they’re not as scary as you may think!

Whether you’re embarking on an apprenticeship within the equineracinganimal care or business sector, the role requires much more than just practical skills!

So, you may be asking yourself,

“How do functional skills apply to my chosen apprenticeship?”

Read below…


The importance of functional skills in equine & racing

Accuracy and precision within the equine and racing industry is key, and as a result maths skills play a vital role. From calculating feed ratios to administering medication based on the horse’s weight, a basic understanding of mathematics is crucial. Maths is also used regularly by both trainers and rider to measure distances, time lapses, and even to analyse performance statistics. English skills also provide our apprentices with the ability to interpret and communicate these calculations effectively, especially when conveying training plans, health reports, or competition results.

The importance of functional skills in animal care

Within animal care, maths and English skills are woven into daily routines. Dog groomers rely on English skills to effectively communicate with customers, enabling them to understand and interpret clients’ preferences, as well as maintaining detailed grooming records. In zoo and farm establishments, animal keepers utilise their maths skills to calculate precise feeding portions, monitor animal health and manage inventory. Within the veterinary sector, sufficient communication skills are an essential component of the job, ensuring that pet owners understand treatment plans, dietary recommendations, and overall well-being assessments.

The importance of functional skills in business

For those undertaking business apprenticeships, day-to-day tasks call for a basic understanding of functional skills. For example, English and ICT skills play a central role within our business administration qualification, where activities include drafting professional emails and the creation of reports and presentations.
Meanwhile, mathematical skills are necessary when carrying out tasks such as budgeting, financial record-keeping, and data analysis – all of these are important tasks contribute to the smooth running of the company. Within customer service and team leader roles, effective communication is at the forefront of the job. Apprentices need to articulate solutions clearly and comprehend the needs of customers and fellow employees, all whilst maintaining positive interactions. Furthermore, maths skills are required for handling transactions, managing customer accounts and addressing numerical aspects of customer inquiries.


Apprenticeships within the equine, animal care, and business sectors are not just about hands-on experience. Each demand a varied skill set that includes a solid grasp of English, maths, and ICT. Functional skills support apprentices whilst they navigate their chosen fields and lay the foundations for a successful career.

If you have more questions about functional skills, you can contact us here.

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