Tom Ravenscroft, CEO
The Skills Builder Partnership
HundrED shortlisted this innovation
What is The Skills Builder Partnership?
There is something fundamental missing in education. Knowledge and good grades are not enough.
We see it in schools, where students often struggle to articulate their ideas, work with others, solve problems or organise themselves to achieve their goals. We see it in colleges and universities, where tutors fear their undergraduates struggle without the structures and support offered by schools. One in twelve freshers from a low-income background drops out. We see it in businesses and startups, where employers consistently report that they prioritise the employability skills of school and college leavers - but then 50% report that they cannot recruit young people with these skills.
In every case, students need to be skilled in communication, creative problem solving, self-management and collaboration. The language around this is diverse and confusing: are they 'employability', 'enterprise', 'entrepreneurship', 'transferable' or 'soft' skills? We simply call them essential skills, because that is what they are.
At the core of our work is the Skills Builder Framework, which breaks down each of the eight essential skills into teachable and measurable steps. This is expanded upon in depth by all of our programmes and products, and we have a tailored offering for each aspect of the Partnership.
For schools, we offer bespoke programmes for integrating essential skills into the curriculum, featuring a range of multi-part Lesson-time Projects and whole-school Challenge Days. We also provide training and support on the best practices for teaching the skills, and our powerful online tool makes assessment rapid and informative. Finally, we link schools with local employers so they can develop skills in a real-life context.
Individual teachers can access our 10-minute video activities for free, as well as a host of printable resources like posters, certificates and detailed handbooks for teaching.
We're also becoming increasingly engaged with schools and teachers internationally; teachers in 12 countries use our online resources; we've shared our work with educators in Poland, China, Uganda, the US and more; and we run projects with international school partners, such as Sohar International School in Oman.
For employers, we provide strong two-way links with schools in the local community and help to organise inspiring workplace visits where volunteers work with students on the skills they'll really need. We're also beginning to work with employers to embed the Framework into their existing youth work.
Finally, we're working closely with a wide range of youth organisations that also build skills, helping to integrate the Framework into their existing programmes. This allows them to design their programmes based on a consistent and rigorous system, making measuring impact much more efficient and meaningful.