Core and Key Skill Equivalences FAQs

Are Key and Core Skills the same?

No. The five Core Skills cover the six Key Skills and Wider Key Skills area.

However, they are close enough to allow comparisons to be made for progression. They are similar, in that they are transferable skills needed for everyday life, but are evidenced in different ways.

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In what ways are Key and Core Skills the same?

Core Skills can be embedded in subject areas or demonstrated by taking a dedicated Unit. They are externally moderated and have no external exam. They are part of the Scottish system of education and are certificated against SQA standards.

Key Skills are demonstrated separately from other subjects and may have different parts: folio, external test, set assignment. They are part of the English, Welsh and Northern Ireland systems and are certificated against their own standards.

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Now that there are equivalences, can people choose which ones they want to do?

No. The equivalences table shows the worth of one qualification when it is transported to another system, much like working out how much the pound is worth against the dollar. It does not mean you can choose which currency to use!

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Who would use the table?

Those who have already achieved Core or Key Skills can show their value to others from another system. This should avoid duplication where, for example, entry to an HNC required Core Skill Working with Others at Intermediate 2 level and somebody with Key Skill Working with Others at level 1 wished to apply. Similarly Modern Apprentices who achieve Core Skills and move to England with the intention of continuing their apprenticeship would be able to show skill through their Core Skill certification or profile.

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Can you get a certificate from another awarding body?

These would not be issued as a matter of course. If you wanted one, you could go through the Accreditation of Prior Learning process with your current evidence. This would involve a fee.

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Does it mean that Universities in England, Wales or Northern Ireland would have to automatically accept Core Skills as equivalent to similar Key Skills?

No. These institutions are independent and set their own entrance criteria. What they can now do is see what the Scottish equivalents of Key Skills are.

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What about jobs?

Employers would be able to see at a glance how the skills you have relate to the ones they are already familiar with. At present, some might ask for Key Skills at a particular level. You could then work out whether your certification in Core Skills showed the same level.

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