Computer Basics for Carers

Many people go into the caring profession because they like to look after and care for other people. Unfortunately, like all modern businesses, a knowledge and use of computers is now a must in the care indutry. A typical care worker will at the very least need to know these basic computer skills:

  • Being to switch a computer on
  • Being able to log on and log off
  • Being able to shut down a computer
  • Understand the concept of user name and password
  • Basic Keyboarding (Enter, Backspace, Delete)
  • Understand how to use a mouse (left click, right click, scroll)
  • Understand the concept of desktop
  • Be able to create folders and files
  • Using a browser to search for information online
  • Using a web-based email to send and receive emails with attachment
  • Use Word Processing to write a basic document, save it and email it as an attachment

If you are an employer in the care industry and you have staff who may have difficulties with any of the above tasks, talk to us.

Is care work preventing you from learning?

Yes, many people working in the care industry would answer. If you are a care worker or healthcare support worker, you might find it hard to add “learning” to your busy schedule. Other things that may prevent you from learning could be:

  • family commitments
  • lack of confidence (you may have had a bad experience at school).

Skills Advisors can help you tackle your barriers to learning. Our motto is “Training with minimum disruption to your work”. We deliver training in short time batches to suit and fit around you; from 1-2 hour sessions at your place of work to on-demand short online units lasting for less than 30 minutes.

Skills Advisors focus is maths, English and Digutal Skills, the main foundations that every care worker needs to work in this age. Using a healthcare worker as an example, she will need:

  • IT Skills like Using Computers and Word Processing to allow her to write care plans for her clients.
  • IT Skills like Using Email to send information including attachments.
  • Maths Skills to be able measure medication.
  • Maths Skills to be able to properly record fluid intake.
  • English Skills to be able to write the care plan.
  • English Skills to fill out an accident form.

By the way, if you are an experienced care worker, PrimeCarers will help you find more and flexible work to suit your schedule.

To apply, hit the ‘apply now’ button, and check out this handy application guide they have made to help you.

Five Universities accepting Functional Skills

You can go to University with Functional Skills maths and English at Level 2.   Several universities in the UK accept Functional Skills as an alternative to GCSE’s and we have listed five in this article:

WolverhamptonFunctional Skills Level 2 English
West LondonFull recognition given to relevant key skills, functional skills and ..
Edge Hill Level 2 Functional Skills English or Level 2 Literacy are also acceptable for most, but not all, degrees.
Teesside Functional skills at level 2 in both maths and English as equivalent to GCSE Maths and English grade C for most courses.
London South Bank Functional Skills Level 2 Maths and English in place of GCSEs

Methods of Text

Language features are used by writers to reinforce their points. Here are the language features you should look out for in your exam:

  • (bold) heading
  • numbers / figures / amounts / values / statistics
  • first person (plural), use of ‘we’, ‘our’
  • exaggeration / hyperbole
  • commands e.g. ‘ask yourself…’

Other language features include:

  • rhetorical question
  • uses research to back argument
  • emotive / negative language
  • rule of three e.g. ‘helped, taught and played…’
  • direct address ( e.g. ‘you could always help at home…’
  • informal language / word play
  • exclamation (mark)
  • humour / play on words / pun
  • colloquial expressions / slang
  • powerful / strong language / superlatives
  • repetition
  • direct quotations / personal experience
  • alliteration

How to work out percentages

To work out the percentage of any number, follow this example:
e.g: Work out 23% of 229

Step 1: Divide the percentage by 100: 23/100 = 0.23
Step 2: Multiply this answer with the number to get the final answer: 0.23 x 229 = 52.67

To work out one number as a percentage of another:

e.g: 20 out of the 65 people who attended a maths seminar were Healthcare Assistants. What percentage is this?

Answer : (20/65) * 100 = 0.3077 x 100 = 30.77%

How to pass Functional Skills Tip 3: Emphasise the importance of developing good English and mathematical skills

Leaders and managers do not emphasise the importance of developing good English and mathematical skills linked to the apprentices’work. The planning and delivery of training to develop apprentices’English and mathematical skills are poor. Coaches do not pay enough attention to the development of English and mathematics skills and knowledge. Therefore, apprentices do not improve their English and mathematical skills for work. Apprentices that need to complete functional skills qualifications in English and mathematics as part of their apprenticeship do not receive enough support or tuition.

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Off-the-Job Training

Off-the-job training is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of their normal working duties.

The off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework or standard and could include the following:

  • The teaching of theory (lectures, simulation exercises, online learning etc)
  • Practical training (shadowing, mentoring, industry visits

A quick calculation of the number of off-the-job training hours an apprentice would require:

Assumptions: 12 months, 6 weeks holiday, so 52 -6 = 46 weeks of work.

Average hours per week = 30.

Total number of hours per year: = 46 x 30 = 1380 hours.

Off-the-job = 0.2 x 1380 = 276 hours

Hours per week = 276/46 = 6 hours per week.

Example off-the-job tasks

10 days training @ 8 hours per day = 80 hours

3 hours shadowing per week = 3 x 46 = 138 hours

Online learning = 30 hours

Self-study / reflections = 30 hours

Total = 80 + 138 + 30 + 30 = 278 hours.

How to pass Functional Skills Tip 2: Coach frequently

Make sure that your learners are coached often. This increases their chances of success in the Functional Skills exams.

Leaders do not have a clearly defined approach to develop apprentices’ English, mathematics and digital skills. As a result, apprentices do not receive frequent tuition and coaching in these subjects. Consequently, apprentices do not improve their knowledge and skills in these subjects quickly enough.

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How to pass Functional Skills Tip 1: Provide early support

Recent Ofsted reports offered quite candid insigts on how to prepare your apprentices for the Functional Skills exams:


  • Provide early support

Apprentices who are required to take functional skills examinations in English, mathematics or information and communication technology use online learning packages and workbooks to preparefor examinations. Trainer-assessors provide support, but this is too late in apprentices’programmes to help them develop the skills they need in the workplace and to be confident about passing their examinations.

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Most apprentices have good skills in English and mathematics. However, for the very small number of apprentices who do not,leaders have been too slow to make suitable arrangements for themto gain these skills. As a result, these apprentices have not yet started working towards their qualifications.