An image of the Eight Essential Skill icons. Listening, Speaking, Problem Solving, Creativity, Staying Positive, Aiming High, Leadership and Teamwork.

Support your college students to succeed

These are the skills young people need to succeed in education and beyond into employment. Working with the Skills Builder Partnership supports all students to take ownership of their essential skill development and articulate their strengths.
See our programmes
An image of the front cover of the Educators Toolkit.

Educators Toolkit

This free toolkit shares the Skills Builder Universal Framework, which breaks each essential skill down into teachable, learnable steps.
Download now

“ A whole college approach - students are able to recognise existing skills and identify skills that need to be developed. ”

Skills Leader in a college in Hartlepool

Join a movement around essential skills

We're bringing educators, employer and impact organisations together to support everyone to build the essential skills for success.

schools and colleges
organisations and employers

Transform essential skills

The Skills Builder Universal Framework provides the national standard for teaching essential skills. It breaks each skill into steps, supporting progress for students of all ages and abilities - including those with special educational needs.

The Skills Builder Universal Framework.

Achieve long-lasting change

Refined over a decade, the Skills Builder Principles underpin a rigorous approach to building essential skills and will form the basis of your strategy. Your success embedding these Principles will be recognised with a Skills Builder Award.

The Six Principles. Keep it Simple. Start young, keep going. Measure it. Focus tightly. Keep Practicing. Bring it to life.

The training brought everyone together to share their experiences and the delivery was really well presented.

Skills Leader in a college in London

Three ways to join the Skills Builder Partnership

Individual teacher
Find out more
Start building skills for free with your own group of students
Create your free account on the Skills Builder Hub
Access 300+ Short Lessons and a suite of supporting resources
Add and assess multiple groups, and see impact over time
Digital Membership
Find out more
Unlock Premium Resources to inspire students across multiple cohorts
Access Challenge Days and extended Projects via the Skills Builder Hub
Add and manage multiple teachers and their classes
Download assessment data and track progress over time
Accelerator Programme
Find out more
Embed a strategic approach with support on our flagship programme
Join a national network of 400+ Skills Leaders
Work closely with our team of teachers on strategy and training
Achieve the Skills Builder Award for high quality provision

Click to see full-size.

Staff are using the Skills Builder programme in Study Skills lessons then referring to the activities in other lessons to signpost what students have learnt and skills that can be transferred.

Skills Leader in a college in Middlesbrough

See how other colleges are building essential skills

Grantham College

Grantham College

Lincolnshire, UK

Grantham College started working with us in September 2020. They are using our support, tools and employer interaction opportunities to work on an embedded approach to building skills throughout all areas of the college, targeting all 6 principles consistently and thoroughly.

“What is especially great, is that it is relevant to every college department, from Learning Development, to Career Net (which supports young people out of work), to Apprentices and of course our core body of 16-19 year old students. It is still early days..., however the programme is having a real impact.”
Skills Leader

Measuring progress

Students at Grantham use Skills Builder Benchmark to track progress in skills and target areas for development, in conversation with their tutor/teachers. These skill targets are logged on the college system so it’s part of college life. Teachers also track progress through the Hub assessment tool and use this to inform future planning.

Visual cues

The Skills Leader at Grantham has set up skills content on TVs around the college site. There are display boards that promote skills and support development in skills. There is also a section of the college website devoted to skills – they encourage parents and carers to access this to promote their understanding of Skills Builder and the benefits it offers to their children.

Virtual Trips

Grantham students attended a couple of virtual trips in 2020-21, to Accenture and Network Rail, to increase the impact of classroom learning. Students had the opportunity to ask volunteers from our employers about the business, their role, and how they use essential skills. Grantham also aims to incorporate essential skills in work experience logbooks and industry placement logbooks.

Newcastle College

Newcastle College

Newcastle, UK

Newcastle College has been working to embed the Skills Builder approach across college life. As part of the students’ Personal and Social Development programme, the Skills Builder Framework underpins the skills all Level 1, 2 and 3 students work to develop.

Integrated curriculum

Essential skills are embedded in teaching and learning policies, as a regular agenda item in staff and parent meetings, in displays across sites, and through a rewards system to recognise achievement. The curriculum and pastoral teams work together to ensure consistency in both language and approach.

Measuring impact

Learners and tutors have regular opportunities to reflect on skills, considering areas of strength and development while linking them to work experience and employer engagement. Students log their progress over the year to build up a comprehensive record of examples, clearly demonstrating their skill development.

Sharing best practice

Through a wider employability working group in the North East, the college was able to share their work, encouraging other colleges to adopt the approach. Through this group, Sunderland, Hartlepool, and Northumberland Colleges have collaborated and developed a coordinated approach.


Ensure accessible skill development for all your learners

The Skills Builder Expanded Framework provides further scaffolding to make building essential skills accessible for all learners, including those with additional needs.
Learn more