The Skills Builder Partnership: A fully funded opportunity to deliver essential skills education (CCC)

The Skills Builder Partnership is offering schools and colleges the opportunity to apply for a fully funded place on their flagship education programme. ‘The Accelerator’ is a capacity-building programme designed to support long term provision of essential skills education. This annual membership is worth £1800.

You can submit an application here or read on to find out more.

The third and final deadline for applications is Friday 2nd July.

Who are the Skills Builder Partnership?

For some time now, there have been calls from universities and employers to provide young people with more opportunities to focus on building skills. In addition, 97% of teachers agree skills are as important as academic qualifications[1] and 90% of young people agree skills should be taught at school or college[2]. Yet two in five employers remain dissatisfied with the level of skill when they come to recruit school or college leavers[3].

The Skills Builder Partnership exists to help ensure that everyone has the essential skills they need to succeed. These are highly transferable skills that unlock learning in the classroom and make young people more employable. Recent research highlights the correlation between essential skills and education outcomes, employment outcomes and wider life4. Skills Builder bring together over 800 schools colleges, employers and organisations around a common approach to building eight essential skills: Listening, Speaking, Problem Solving, Creativity, Staying Positive, Aiming High, Leadership and Teamwork.

The approach is underpinned by a rigorous, progressive Universal Framework. The Framework defines each skill and breaks it down into its teachable, tangible themes to foster incremental progression for learners of any age.

To ensure an even tighter focus, these themes are broken down into 16 steps to ensure development is manageable and targeted. Not only does this set young people up for success, it provides a consistent language and alignment towards a common agenda. Rather than asking learners to work in groups hoping they become better team players, we can teach them how to take responsibility for their own tasks, contribute to group decisions and recognise the value of other’s ideas, for example.

The Universal Framework is vital in identifying and understanding what essential skills are and what they involve.

However, it is also important to consider the ‘how’. Skills Builder advocates six common principles that underpin an effective approach to building essential skills:

  • Keep it simple: Using a consistent language, and focusing on tangible steps
  • Start early and keep going: Working with individuals at each stage of education
  • Measure it: Understanding existing skills strengths and development areas
  • Focus Tightly: Building essential skills explicitly and deliberately
  • Keep Practising: Apply the skills in lots of settings and reflect on their use
  • Bring it to life: Link the essential skills to different elements of wider life

The eight essential skills, the Universal Framework and the six Principles are the core ingredients to the Skills Builder approach. Hundreds of schools and colleges are putting this into action. In particular, via the flagship programme; The Accelerator.

The Accelerator: How does it work?

Developed with 200+ leading organisations, the Accelerator includes training and support for a nominated Skills Leader. They are supported to implement an essential skills strategy based on the six best-practice principles in pursuit of a Skills Builder Award. Skills Leaders receive comprehensive training and strategic support via two training days and three meetings with a dedicated Skills Builder team member across an academic year.

Skills Builder also provide teachers with high quality training, delivering two training sessions to introduce all teachers to the approach, create a shared understanding of essential skills and how they are built within the curriculum. Teachers are supported by a range of platforms, designed by Skills Builder, which provide a wealth of fully prepared resources and assessment tools, helping to identify a manageable starting point for learners and clarity around the next step.

Watch this video to understand how the Accelerator programme could work for you and explore the free tools available to support educators:

The Accelerator: What does it look like in practice?

In 2020, the Accelerator supported 430+ leading schools, colleges and alternative settings. The programme is purposely flexible and therefore looks different in every setting. Some institutions adopt eight skills across all year groups. Others focus on fewer skills and begin implementation with a select cohort.

For example, Ash Manor School who have been working towards a Bronze award to provide opportunities for learners to build workplace skills. This year, there has been an explicit focus on Speaking and Listening for Years 8 and 9 and Aiming High for Year 10. Tutors use Skills Builder Hub lessons weekly to build an understanding of each skill, whilst extra-curricular provisions link to the essential skills to highlight their transferability.

Visit the ‘stories’ page on our Accelerator page to read more examples and understand the variety of ways in which schools and colleges are delivering essential skills education.

How to Apply

This is a really exciting opportunity but there are a limited number of funded programme places available, so make sure you don’t miss out!

If you are interested in applying for a place, please visit our Accelerator website to find out more. You can download a prospectus, sign up to an information webinar where you can preview resources and ask questions, and ultimately submit your application.

The application process is short and easy to complete. However, if do you have questions or require support, please email accelerator@skillsbuilder.org Skills Builder look forward to receiving your application by Friday 2nd July!


  1. The Sutton Trust – Life Lessons: Improving essential life skills for young people
  2. Better Prepared: Essential skills and employment outcomes for young people
  3. Getting Young People ‘Work Ready’ – CBI, 2019
  4. Better prepared: Essential skills and employment outcomes for young people’ – Skills Builder, 2021

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