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About us.

The training alliance has been operating since 2008.  We have always focussed on the development of numeracy and literacy skills.  Learners have been supported by The Training Alliance from innumerate backgrounds: pharmaceutical workers, forklift truck drivers, bus drivers, driving instructors, call centre staff, construction workers, plumbers, teachers, welders… the list is as varied as the areas we deliver our courses in!  Our courses have been delivered to learners from Newcastle to London, Norwich to Wrexham, Weymouth to St Ives and even further afield.


Our tutor network operates on a national basis delivering courses as required by our learners.  All our staff are qualified tutors and teachers with years (in some cases decades) of experience in dealing with basic skills in maths and English.  


The functional skills qualification that we deliver is designed as a gateway to progression and as we are a funded organisation there is no cost to the learner or any partner organisation in the delivery of these courses.  


Functional Skills Courses.

The Level One functional skills course exams in literacy and numeracy, are considered as equivalent to a GCSE pass, the Level Two exams are considered equivalent to a good GCSE pass.  Level Two qualifications are viewed as equivalents to a C grade passes in terms of access to progression in learning.  

For example for people to study for a degree, a level 2 functional skills qualification will enable them to meet the threshold access requirements for English and maths skills mandated for study in institutes of higher education.  Similarly the qualification is often required as entry criteria to college courses.  

Importantly the qualification is recognised by businesses as an indication of capability with numeracy and literacy.      



Any candidate for the course must be over 19, a UK or EU national and not hold a GCSE grade C or above in maths and English. 

The course is designed to help people develop a functional standard of literacy and numeracy, hence the GCSE boundary.  Learners with GCE’s, O levels or international qualifications would be eligible.  Learners who hold higher level qualifications, Level 4 customer service or A levels for example, would be accepted onto the course as long as they did not have the GCSE in maths or English at grade C.  

The funding would enable an learner who completed a level 1 course to progress to a level 2 course in the next academic year.


Referral/Course size.

We traditionally run the course in groups of between 10 – 15 people so if you were to have any members that would be interested in the course we would need to build up a group of this size range before we could commence.  

All we would ask regarding referral is that you inform any learner who we are and that a course will be arranged for them once a threshold of ten learners has been met and that there is a commitment required to complete the course.  We will do the rest: arranging suitable venues, providing course materials, delivery of the courses through qualified and fully DBS compliant teachers with suitable experience, delivery of final exams and presentation of certification



We would be able to identify a central training venue to run the courses which suited your workers, we have ran these classes previously and designed them so they were accessibly from major bus routes in publicly accessible sites.  



There are no costs involved in the course delivery at all or in certification or presentation.  The course is designed to help people develop skills there is no financial entry requirement at all the course is fully funded by the Skills Funding Agency.    


Course Outline.

The course consists of four core elements: maths skills, reading and writing, and finally a speaking and listening element. 

The course is ran over three months with four classroom sessions, backed up with homework from three of the days and additional online support as necessary. 


Day 1: induction day

This is usually a half-day session, initially learners will complete their paperwork for joining and review induction materials and the course outline and dates will be scheduled in so learners are aware of the time-scales for completion.

Learners will complete their initial assessment, this allows the training alliance to review each learner’s current skills and assign the level of the course they will be undertaking. 

Also on this day will be delivered some of the skills session to prepare learners for the speaking and listening assessments on day 3.    

Following this session learners will all be issued with a diagnostic pack (about an hour of work in total) which will drill down to the areas in which they may need additional support. 

Once this has been reviewed learners may be issued with additional self-study workbooks which, each take about half an hour to complete some learners may not require these dependent upon their study level and previous study/ability.


Day 2: Literacy and numeracy studies day.

This session usually takes half a day.  Learners complete development lessons to help prepare them for the speaking and listening element of the course.   
We train learners in the use of formal and informal language, letter writing and email composition, identification of types of texts, and specific sessions on improving reading and writing skills.  Learners at level 2 are prepared with their topics for a presentation session on day 3.

The homework from this session will be based on additional literacy skills for any learner that may require this support, this only for learners who require additional study support, this may be for either maths and/or English. 

Workbooks are given out in the session as self-study materials to each learner (about an hour of work) for their literacy skills.


Day 3: Speaking and Listening exams and mock papers.  
This may be a slightly longer session than the half day – dependent upon the number of learners in attendance and the length of any presentations delivered.

The level 2 learners will be required to deliver individual presentations, then participate in assessed formal discussions, the level one learners will be expected to get involved in the Q&A aspects of level 2 learner presentations and then complete assessed formal and informal group discussions whilst being observed by their tutor.

Duringthis day learners complete their maths mock exam and any development points are recorded for support staff from The Training Alliance to deliver targeted support prior to the final exams.

The Homework for this session will be the completion of the mock exams, ideally learners will complete the maths paper in session with the tutor.  If not possible these must be completed prior to the learner sitting their exams.  This allows The Training Alliance to mark, review and provide additional support to any learner who may need it. 

Any learners who do not complete their mock exams will not be able to sit their final exams until these are completed and reviewed. 


Day 4: Final exam day.

Learners will sit their final exams and complete their administrative paperwork.  Any learner who requires a re-sit for any exam will be met and have 1:2:1 feedback along with additional developmental support to enhance their learning, the will then be allocated a time slot to repeat the exam with a tutor present to guide them through the process.



Once the course is completed, The Training  Alliance do like to deliver a presentation ceremony where learners will have their achievements recognised and receive their formal certificates.