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Essential skills in work experience - how to use the Skills Builder Universal Framework

Most of us will remember our first interaction with the working world, through work experience or otherwise. Was it successful and inspiring, or did you start to consider other potential career options?

Whatever your experience, all work experience programmes give us opportunities to reflect on, practise and build our essential skills in a work-related context. They help us start making informed choices about which roles will best suit our skill set, how we like to work, and build up invaluable examples we can reference later on.

Aligning the language of essential skills and sharing the Skills Builder approach with  education settings, impact organisations and employers, we aim to ensure there is a joined-up and consistent way to develop essential skills across the board. 

Why embed the essential skills in your employability provision?

Embedding essential skills means providers and organisations can help individuals identify and celebrate their strengths and hone in on areas for development. Importantly, the shared language of essential skills used in schools and with employers gives individuals a jargon-free way to articulate their own skills. 

So in this blog, we’re going to take you through some of the steps you can take to use essential skills in your work experiences and provisions.

Using the Skills Builder approach to develop work experience provision

  1. Identify the most relevant essential skills for the area of work participants are engaging with.

  1. Identify three focus skills you want participants to develop through the work experience – making these explicit in planned activities, or creating new opportunities to develop them. 

  1. Make focus skills and skill steps obvious through work experience objectives or outcomes alongside other knowledge or technical skill-based objectives. You can use formative assessment to measure these if possible.

  1. Use the skill icons to make visual references so participants can link skills to different contexts

  1. Explain what 'good' looks like by highlighting which skill steps are most useful in different scenarios. Support this with examples of positive outcomes where these skill steps have been applied.

  1. Create opportunities for participants to reflect on and articulate their understanding of the skill(s) being developed, and how they've applied their skills in particular activities. Use the reflection questions in the Universal Framework to guide these conversations and support accurate reflections.

  1. Provide feedback using the steps from the framework to support participants to identify strengths and areas for development.

  1. Measure progress to track whether your actions are having a positive impact.This could be someone doing a skill step for the first time, more regularly or in a new context. 

Explore the impact directory

We’ve seen some incredible programmes and provision from our impact organisation and employer partners who have opened up opportunities to learn about, reflect on, practise, and build essential skills. The Skills Builder Impact Directory aims to celebrate and promote this provision. By being transparent about who and what the provision is for, you can find the right provision for you or those you are supporting.

For employers looking to embed essential skills into their outreach, download a prospectus or book in a free consultation meeting with us - we’d love to hear from you. 

If you’re an organisation providing work related provision and placements, we’d equally love to hear from you! Explore our Impact Programme, or book in a meeting.