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Evaluation of essential skills in the workplace

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  • Release date: 16 March 2016
The reports aim to evaluate the effectiveness of delivery, and impact of post-16 basic skills provision at the workplace delivered in Wales.

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Evaluation of essential skills in the workplace

Essential Skills in the Workplace (ESiW) was a Welsh Government programme that offered training in essential skills. Essential skills includes reading, writing, communication, numeracy and computer skills. The programme offered learners the opportunity to study Essential Skills Wales (ESW) qualifications  and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). It was funded through the European Social Funding (ESF) from April 2010 to April 2015.

The programme has performed well and was highly valued by all key stakeholders (providers, employers, and learners). The programme was well managed and key learner engagement and attainment targets were achieved for less money than was originally allocated. Awareness of essential skills needs is now much stronger among employers and the workforce, and demand for training is likely to continue. A positive impact on businesses was observed by employers in terms of improved staff morale, confidence at work, skills developed and productivity.

  • Review the performance of providers with regards conversion rates to understand why rates differed quite considerably from provider to provider.
  • Review the status of learners’ prior qualifications and consider including a target for training providers to engage learners with no qualifications.
  • If a regional delivery model is adopted, consider the feasibility for providers to operate Pan-Wales to ensure continuity of provider/employer relationships.
  • Review the low level of provision for ESOL to ensure that learners who have a language need can be supported appropriately.
  • The Welsh Government should monitor the demand for, and review the provision of learning through the medium of Welsh in any future delivery of essential skills.
  • Future programme design should determine the key aspects of the programme which could effect change in outcomes around equalities and sustainability, and integrate these aspects throughout the delivery to well-defined outcomes and targets. How this can be evidenced should also be considered.


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