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Uber funds Midlands schools to build the essential skills for success

Young people today are growing up in an environment of unprecedented change. The job market is evolving at a rapid pace, defined by ever newer industries, career paths and ways of working. But across contexts, there are a core set of skills that underpin success: being able to communicate effectively, solve problems creatively, set and achieve goals, and work well with others.

That’s why at the Skills Builder Partnership, we’ve made it our mission to ensure students build the eight essential skills for success: listening, presenting, problem solving, creativity, staying positive, aiming high, leadership and teamwork. The Skills Builder Framework breaks each of these eight skills into teachable, learnable steps.

As the world of work continues to shift and develop, mastering these skills empowers young people to be flexible, confident and self-sufficient – whatever they choose to do. So across the country, we collaborate closely with educators, employers and youth organisations to integrate building these skills into every day.

Skills for the future

Employers understand the need for these essential skills acutely. In 2018, the CBI’s Education and Skills Survey found that while employers consistently report that they prioritise the essential employability skills of school and college leavers (especially when it comes to communication and self-management), 66% are worried that the next generation won’t have the necessary skills.

Speaking at the launch of the Partnership in May, CBI President Paul Drechsler strongly endorsed the Skills Builder Framework as "the foundation on which to build our next generation”, calling on the business world to “take these skills, champion them, embrace them, and use them to support their interactions with young people." More than 130 employers are now helping to support that goal.

Through Uber's funding, students from schools across the Midlands visit local employers and get a taste of the world of work

Our work with Uber

Over the last term, we were excited to begin a partnership with Uber, as part of their ongoing commitment to supporting communities in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Through their generous funding, we have been able to deliver our programmes to thirteen schools across the area, giving students access to a range of engaging resources to hone skills and involving them in inspiring experiences to help crystallise ambitions. They join our wider Partnership of more than 480 schools building essential skills across the country.

"We are thrilled to be supporting the innovative work that the Skills Builder Partnership delivers with schools and teachers. Our global mission is to ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion - and we're delighted to play a role in expanding young people's horizons across a city and region that has such an exciting future." - Eugenie Teasley, Head of Cities, South & East of England

The impact in the classroom

Uber’s support of our programmes will make a huge impact on the learning and future prospects of more than 5,000 students across the Midlands. For example, it has allowed Brownmead Primary School to embed regular learning projects to develop essential skills into the curriculum.

These are challenging, extended projects – developing an exercise regime for younger students, for example – that build skills like teamwork and leadership step by step. Students get to lead a project through from start to finish, reflect on their own progress and learn a whole lot about the world beyond school in the process.

Other schools, including Heartlands Secondary Academy, have used the funding to run our whole-school Challenge Days. These give students a chance to apply the skills they’ve learned in class in a practical context – for example, designing transport for the future or creating a video game based on their school. Uber’s provision means that we’re able to send members of our experienced teacher team to facilitate and provide guidance.

All the schools supported by Uber also have access to the Skills Builder Hub, which we created to make our approach as accessible as possible. It provides a huge range of free tools and resources educators can use to develop essential skills with their learners including teacher training, assessment tools and classroom resources.

Connecting with the working world

Finally, the funding from Uber has allowed schools like Firs Primary to take advantage of our extensive network of local employers, with whom we run inspiring workplace trips to show how the skills are used in working life.

Students get to interview staff volunteers on how they use the skills everyday and take a tour to learn about the industry, before collaborating on a themed skills-building task, like giving financial advice at a bank or developing a publicity campaign at a marketing agency. These kinds of experience are invaluable for bringing the skills learned in class to life in a real professional environment – not to mention the fact that many students might otherwise have limited opportunities to experience a range of careers.

"We are particularly impressed at how the Skills Builder Partnership builds skills in teachers and students to ensure that the programmes are sustainable and that the impact is carried along the future pathways of all involved." - Eugenie Teasley, Head of Cities, South & East of England
Wheeler's Lane Primary in Birmingham built Problem Solving skills in a Crime Scene Challenge - thanks to Uber's support

Making a real difference

We’re pleased to be working with Uber in this way, as financial support such as this makes it possible to provide this sort of focused, impactful programme for schools. Time spent teaching skills explicitly makes a real difference, too: our latest Impact Report from 2018 shows the effectiveness of our approach: from our work with more than 95,000 students, 93% of teachers saw a positive impact on their students’ essential skills.

In an age where it is becoming the norm to have multiple different careers during a lifetime, teaching skills explicitly like this is crucial if young people are to grow up to be independent and adaptable. Whatever path students end up choosing, the essential skills they will be able to develop through these programmes will serve them time and time again.

We’re enormously grateful to Uber for their support, which has the potential to make a huge impact on the lives of over 5,000 children and young people. As a Partnership, we can make sure everyone builds the essential skills to succeed.

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