Skills Builder

About the Project

This project is one of the 2022 WISE Awards finalists. 


Context and Issue 

There is a growing consensus that children and young people are not being equipped with the essential skills that are needed for the 21st century labour market. International organisations like the OECD, ILO, World Bank and World Economic Forum have all clearly articulated the need for a structured approach to skills development as a gateway to securing and sustaining employment.

One of the biggest barriers we face, however, is a lack of clarity in the way they are taught. They are called a myriad of different terms and are not broken down or linked to real life, which is ultimately what makes them transferable. There is no structured pathway of progression for learners, and access to quality teaching remains uneven.

Solution and Impact

Over a decade, we have created and refined the Skills Builder Universal Framework – drawing on learnings from tens of thousands of learners, as well as leading academics, international examples, and educators and employers from across the world.

The Framework makes these skills tangible, and breaks them down into incremental steps which allow teachers to assess them rigorously, and to structure learning around them. It allows students to take ownership of their essential skills and articulate them to support next steps, including into employment. Their flexibility allows for adaptation to the local context.

The Partnership is about driving collective impact around this approach. Our central team catalyses engagement with the Framework, builds the capacity of educators, employers and impact organisations to use it through training and access to a raft of free online tools and materials, and then ensures shared learning and policy change to support our goals.


Future Developments 

The Partnership now has real momentum, with more than 1,460,000 programmes delivered to boost essential skills in 2020-21. Our approach is now mainstream in the UK, used in 75% of secondary schools and colleges, and reflected in statutory guidance for schools and colleges. Our impact reporting shows that students on a structured programme using Skills Builder make twice the rate of progress in their essential skills as their peers.

Our international work is putting the Framework into use more widely. In Uganda and Kenya, for example, we are working with the government education agencies for assessment and curriculum to build the Skills Builder approach into the learning of every child. 

We are excited to be a finalist in the WISE Awards, and hope that this will help accelerate our ambition that one day, everyone will build the essential skills to succeed.


May 19, 2022 (last update 09-15-2022)