Theory assignment Task 5, 6 and 7
Level 4: Evaluate a range of ways to embed elements of Functional Skills in your specialist area.
Functional skills are essential and practical skills to use in every day life. They have been introduced to address government and employer’s concern over raising standards in basic literacy and numeracy, for learners of all ages. According to Qualification and Curriculum Development Agency (Reference 1): “Functional skills are those core elements of English, mathematics and ICT that provide individuals with the skills and abilities they need to operate confidently, effectively and independently in life, their communities and at work”.
Functional skills can be transferable across a range of situations including employment, learning and daily life. The key skills will also help develop important competencies in communication, team working, presentation and problem solving. Learners who are able to use and apply the English, Numeracy and ICT skills are more likely to tackle all the problems arising in work and life.
There are many various ways to introduce Functional Skills into Customer Service/ Hospitality area. As the NVQ Assessor I could do this firstly by identifying opportunities to consolidate, practise and develop the learners reading, writing, spelling, numeracy, basic mathematics and information technology skills through their vocational programmes for example as part of an apprenticeship.
In customer service within hospitality (NVQ) I can incorporate literacy skills by encouraging effective listening and communication with guests during their stay at the hotel and working collaboratively within the team ensuring that they use literacy skills confidently and in range of context. Learners could use their literacy skills in letters and memo writing, when passing any written information about facts, problems arising during the work or taking a reservation and checking guests in using a special form. To develop and assess my learners’ literacy skills I could ask them to write a welcome letter to the guests to see what level of written skills they possess and where their needs are.
Alongside the literacy skills learners are required to use mathematical knowledge in a variety of tasks while studying towards their NVQ qualifications. At the hotel reception the confidence in maths and knowledge of calculation is particularly vital as receptionists are dealing with money and payment transaction on the daily basis. The same applies to the kitchen and restaurant staff where they are dealing with cost of products and tariffs on the menu. To develop and assess my learners’ numeracy skills I could ask them to calculate the cost of one week stay at the hotel adding any additional extras to a guest’s bill. That would indicate if a learner is able to analyse the information, order them and make the appropriate calculation to present a proper and accurate bill. Referring to ICT skills in hospitality area- Front Office of House- the learners are expected to use specialist software (i.e. Opera, Hotex or Fidelio system) including the use of information and technology to plan their daily work, to print reports needed in case of the system failure or to manage the information storage i.e. the guests’ data. Using ICT requires independence, technical demand and familiarity with the programmes i.e.: Word, Excel, Power Point or Outlook Express. Following Geoffrey Petty (Reference 2) “these applications are tools which students must become familiar with so that they know when and how to use them in employment and at home”. To develop and assess my learners’ ICT skills I could ask them to sent an email confirming a reservation for a guest. This would show me if they can use any of the above programmes or whether they need any help and advice.
Many institutions, i.e. BAL or Bournemouth and Poole College, have their own Skills for Life department where I can refer my learners to...