I am based in graphic design where functional skills play a huge role. As a graphic designer you will constantly liaise with clients, and eventually pitch ideas and concepts to them. In order to do this effectively you must have clear communication skills, because it is your job to convince the client that your idea is better than rival companies who are also pitching ideas. Communication skills are often assessed in job interviews as your prospective employers want to establish whether or not you will fit into the work place and team. You could be the greatest designer the world has ever seen, but if you cannot interact with clients and colleagues you will not be a successful designer.
ICT skills also play a huge part in the graphic design industry, because not only are clients paying for your creativity but also your up to date knowledge of computer programmes.
Finally basic numeracy skills are vital as designers will need to set the sizes for various print documents, here the measurements need to be exact to avoid any print problems. As you can imagine if a company is wanting ten thousand booklets printed and the size of the document is not set up correctly then that's going to waste a lot of money.
By ensuring that students have a basic understanding of these areas aswell as a good sense of design you can be confident they will succeed in industry.
Thanks Jo. Some very interesting points here that promote inclusion of functional skills which I think can be transferred across all subjects :-)
Thanks for your input Mel. Nice to see that I'm not the only one who thinks this should happen :-)
I definitely think that there is a need to extend 'Functionality' across all subjects. I also think that teachers need to be re-educated to understand that 'Functional English' or 'Functional Maths' are not stand alone subjects and that it is the functionality element that needs to be worked on to meet the needs of everyday life and the skills required for employment. Exam boards will need to build in more functionality into their exams if this is ever to work effectively. Maybe collaboration between core skills teachers and subject/vocational teachers could be a step in the right direction? In other words working together to design schemes of work that include the 'functional' use of the core subjects and maybe team teaching? What do people think?
I haven't looked at it from that perspective. If the exams aren't going to change at the moment, teachers coming together to share ideas and build schemes of work to incorporate functional skills could be a really great improvement. I also like the idea of team-teaching, but I imagine this could be quite difficult in most Secondary schools due to the sheer size of them
thank you very much for commenting and sharing your views on this topic. The point that you make about children needing to be taught these functional skills at a young age is a very valid comment. In the U.K, functional skills are not currently taught at Primary Schools. Therefore, along with changing exam syllabi I think the Government should change the curriculum for primary schools too, so as you say they will get these skills from that early age and take them into the real life situations when they are older. Do they teach functional skills at primary level in Hong Kong?
This has been one of my greatest frustrations since entering work (all those years ago....) and even more so since beginning teacher training.
I moonlight as a chef during evenings and weekends (and whenever else there is a spare minute), and the young adults that we employ to represent the restuarant, on the front lines with customers, have such a lack of skill it is so frightening, Like you say, basic functional skills such as communication - i.e, in my line of work, simply answering a phone seems to leave these guys in a state of panic. The fact that they do not know how to deal with with people asking them questions proves there is something seriously wrong with the enducational system they have been spat out from.
"Hello, how can i help you?" "Is everything alright with your food?" "How else can i assist you today?"
Basic communication skills that allow you to deal with day to day life both in work and in domestic life as well.
I am a firm believer in the work experience idea. When kids are about 14/15 (I think), in my town they are put on a placement in some sort of work establishment. We often get them at the resturant. But lets face it, being a pot wash kitchen skiv isn't everyone's idea of a "fun" or "useful" work experience. But i think if the emphasis was to be put more on the skills they would learn - people skills, communication skills, organisation skills - they could be very effective. And why not carry this idea on through post 16? Aim the work experience (to the best of ones ability) in a direction realted to the subject and carry on these useful, practicial, applicable skills that will help kids get through life?!?!
Gina :-) x
I think what you say is very relevant and reinforces how important these functional skills such as communication are and if they aren't learnt while at school then yes, how will they keep a job in the future? I think work experience is a great idea. As Hannah has previously stated it would be a good idea for all degrees to incorporate an aspect of work experience. I also think FE courses as well as schools (only secondary) should have work experience built into them :-)
thanks for your response and it is interesting to hear your point of view, however, my thinking is slightly different to yours. Functional skills are not just the academic side of English, Maths and ICT they are also practical such as communication, which is why I don't see how this could not be incorporated in practical subjects? Surely in a vocational area such as musical theatre/drama, communication plays a big part. Vocational courses still rely on technology and most subjects have some sort of maths built in. For example music, you have to know note values an count the beats in the bar.
Yes I get what you are saying about the GCSE 's and everyone should be of a certain level to get onto further courses, but this is where I think things should change, so that within these qualifications people also have functionality. They should be able to use what they learn at school in their future life and careers.
I don't agree that FE courses should just be a 'refresher'. They should extend peoples skills and take them to the next level.