Foundation Skills

What Are Foundation Skills?

Foundation skills are those core or essential skills we need to engage successfully in work and life. The term ‘Foundation Skills’ is currently used to include the core skills defined in the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) as well as the employability skills identified by employers as critical for effective performance in the workplace. The core skills of the ACSF include reading, writing, oral communication, numeracy and learning. ‘Employability skills' now come under a new framework called Core Skills for Work (CfW) and incorporate skills such as problem solving, teamwork and digital literacy.

Although foundation skills are viewed as those that underpin vocational learning and skills development, they should not be interpreted as only low-level or single-level skills. There is a growing recognition that foundation skills range from quite basic, entry-level skills to very specialised or high-level skills. People are constantly challenged when trying to understand new forms of communication and information as they take on different roles throughout their personal and working life.

Foundation Skills Training Package

The Foundation Skills Training Package (FSK) was endorsed by the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) at their meeting on 28 February 2013 and is now available on

This package intends to provide national standards for foundation skills training and more pathways into vocational qualifications. It also provides a selection of units at a range of ACSF levels to support foundation skills in vocational qualifications.

The Training Package includes 3 qualifications at AQF levels 1 and 2:

  • FSK10113 Certificate I in Access to Vocational Pathways
  • FSK10213 Certificate I in Skills for Vocational Pathways
  • FSK20113 Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways

Plus 91 units of competency organised into six skill groups:

  • 3 Digital technology units
  • 15 Learning units 
  • 39 Numeracy units
  • 11 Oral communication units 
  • 12 Reading units
  • 11 Writing units

Draft implementation guide and unit Mapping

Current GSA foundation skills projects

Foundation skills initiatives in Australian training policy

Foundation skills resources