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January 2022: New Year's updates

Happy New Year!

We hope you had a relaxing winter break, and that you're looking forward to seeing what's in store for 2022. There are a few updates as we kick off the year.

The next couple of months will see the launch of our Essential Skills Tracker, which investigates the state of essential skills among adults across the UK. Read more on it below, and RSVP to our public launch event on March 1.

In other news, you can read about our recent roundtable discussions in partnership with the Association of Colleges and our policy recommendations from these.

This month also marks the 1 year anniversary of our previous research, Essential skills and their impact on education outcomes, which provides a strong evidence base to support these policy proposals.

In this newsletter:

  • Reserve your spot for our upcoming Tracker launch event
  • Catch up on the Association of Colleges policy roundtable discussions
  • Learn about our past research into essential skills and education outcomes
  • Read the final blog from 2021
  • Check out this month's resource spotlight, Skills Builder Benchmark

Scroll down for all the latest. See you next month!


Tom Ravenscroft

Founder and CEO, Skills Builder Partnership

Essential Skills Tracker Launch 2022

A significant milestone for the Partnership this year is the launch of the Essential Skills Tracker. This will explore and analyse essential skills development among adults across the whole of the UK.

Previous reports into the state of skills nationally have revealed critical insights around technical and basic skills. To accompany these findings and provide a fuller picture of skills in the UK, the Tracker will provide the first up-to-date analysis of essential skills among adults.

Be sure to RSVP for the free launch event on March 1 9-10am GMT, and keep an eye on the Eventbrite page below for more info on what's happening on the day.

Catch up: Association of Colleges lifelong learning roundtable

Colleges are now working together in a new way to serve their local economy in England in light of the Skills for Jobs White Paper and the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill. Essential skills form an important element of Skills for Jobs, and are crucial for businesses.

Given this new college system, we partnered with the Association of Colleges to hold two roundtable discussions and answer one key question: How can these reforms also create a collaborative system of essential skills development through lifelong learning?

We recommend that the Government should:

  • Commit to drafting a national strategy for skills during the current parliament
  • Respond promptly and positively to the House of Lords Youth Unemployment Report and action its recommendations
  • Commit to using a consistent and shared language of essential skills across departments so that essential skills are both developed in education and used in the world of work

Be sure to follow our upcoming policy work over the course of this year, as we continue to advocate for these changes.

One year on from our research

This time a year ago, we released a key research paper: Essential skills and their impact on education outcomes.

By newly analysing historical datasets for 10-16 year olds in the UK provided by the British Cohort Survey, we found that higher levels of self-reported essential skills are associated with...

  • Higher levels of literacy at primary school
  • Higher levels of numeracy at primary school
  • Higher levels of mathematics qualifications at secondary school
  • Higher academic performance
  • Higher levels of career aspiration

As the Government looks to boost academic, skill-based, and vocational outcomes for all young people (see: Skills and Post-16 Education Bill), these findings remain incredibly relevant today.

Click below to see the research in full.

What we learned in 2021

We may already be into 2022, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't look back on last year and take our learnings into the next 12 months.

Collective impact works. The efforts and cooperation of everyone across the Partnership throughout last year were a real testament to this. We've highlighted this learning, and more, in our latest blog.

And - keep an eye on our blogs webpage for a big update soon on everything that's to come in 2022 for the Partnership as we continue this work together.

Spotlight: Benchmark

What are your new year's resolutions for 2022?

If building essential skills is one of them, then our digital resource Skills Builder Benchmark is here to help. With a wide range of self-assessment tools available, you'll be able to develop your essential skills in a consistent, targeted, and measured way throughout the year.

It's available for all groups - from individuals, to educators, employers, and organisations more broadly.

Check it out below for more information and to get started.