It has been a breakthrough year for the Skills Builder Partnership, and I’m excited to be able to share our 2021 Impact Report. The year has not been short of challenges on many fronts and for many of our 725 partners. We have all been affected by the pandemic and lockdowns.
At the same time, the work we do supporting everyone to build their essential skills has never been more important. These skills matter for children who have spent months isolated form their peers. They can support young people struggling to manage examinations and completing school or college under huge uncertainty. They are a vital for individuals navigating huge change in their workplaces or wider lives.
Our research publications this year have highlighted that all too often essential skills are correlated with demographics and opportunities to build them are not fairly distributed. At the same time, boosting essential skills is correlated with better school performance, higher self-efficacy and career ambitions, and with a substantial wage premium.
In the Partnership, we are all keenly aware of the urgency of what we are doing. So I am encouraged that despite the circumstances, the Partnership has made huge strides towards our mission, across all of the different strands of our work.
As a result, the Partnership has delivered 1,468,611 opportunities for individuals to boost their essential skills this year. This combines the 187,783 individuals who built their essential skills through programmes that were run in schools and colleges by our central team. It includes a further 65,504 who benefited as individuals from our products. However, it also includes the wider impact of 1,215,324 opportunities for individuals to build their essential skills through approved programmes of partners.
This is a significant step forwards for our collective reach – a total more than four times that of the previous year. We are also seeing meaningful progress on our national reach: through the Partnership, more than 75% of UK secondary schools and colleges now have some use of the Skills Builder approach. We are ambitious for the coming years. We are piloting our work in seven countries in the coming year, as well as expanding to the other home nations of the UK. Our work with employers is growing quickly, with 25 employers now embedding the Skills Builder approach into how they hire and grow their staff, helping to level the playing field and ease transitions into work.
We have a long way to go, but I’d like to congratulate all of our partners on an incredible year and an important step towards our shared mission.