Essential Skills - Business in the Community

Essential Skills

Essential skills are the skills we all need to thrive in education, work and life and are proving to be ones heavily required in a time of crisis1. With estimates that unemployment has already risen to at least 2.5 million 2 and research showing that those who are most disadvantaged are the hardest hit 3 the UK must build the skills it needs for economic recovery while supporting people back to work and ensuring social mobility.

Key facts

  • Businesses struggle to recruit school and college leavers with the essential skills needed for work.1
  • Essential skills are highly transferable skills like communication, problem solving and teamwork that are needed for almost any job.2
  • Essential skills can be developed throughout our lives and can’t be automated out. 3

Introducing a common language for skills

The Skills Builder Universal Framework, developed by the Essential Skills Taskforce, provides a common language on skills from the classroom to the boardroom. Already being adopted by Boots, KPMG, Jacobs, and Tideway, it is a key tool for economic recovery from COVID-19.
The eight essential skills are listening, speaking, problem-solving, creativity, staying positive, aiming high, leadership, and teamwork. The skills cover communication, creative problem solving, self-management, and interpersonal skills.

Essential skills are the skills we need now

To face the challenges ahead employers, alongside educators and Government, must commit to recognising and developing essential skills both in their talent pipeline and in their existing workforce.

We are asking businesses to:

  • Recognise essential skills among their workforce, using the common language of the Skills Builder Universal Framework.
  • Develop essential skills in their current and future workforce using consistent language and steps from the Skills Builder Universal Framework.
  • Promote essential skills as the #skillsweneed with their partners and join our call for Government to make essential skills development part of the national curriculum, giving this equal weight alongside knowledge.

Essential skills leadership

Essential Skills Taskforce

The Essential Skills Taskforce is made up of leading organisations from the education and employment sectors that have come together for the first time to agree a universal framework for essential skills.

Job-coaching: supporting jobseekers with business-led coaching

Our ambition is to address the unemployment issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Support people at risk of being left behind as the country recovers and help to build back an inclusive workforce.

Business in the Community’s (BITC) job coaching programme aims to engage businesses across the UK to support job seekers. The activity is undertaken through a series of coaching sessions.

How does it work?

  • Businesses join the programme by offering their employees a volunteering opportunity to become coaches.
  • We fully train your employee volunteers as coaches, providing them with all the necessary tools and resources.
  • Coaches are then matched with jobseekers to provide one-to-one support.
  • Coaches and jobseekers meet virtually for six, 60-90 minute sessions, over four to six months.
  • Coaches help improve the skills, confidence and employment opportunities for the jobseeker while also enhancing their own skills and wellbeing.
  • We provide continued guidance and support throughout the programme.
Learn more about the business benefits and how your organisation can be involved.
  1. Joan Michelson, (2020) What’s the surprising leadership lesson in the COVID-19 crisis, Forbes, 28 March 2020.
  2. Wilson, T; Cockett, J; Papoutsaki, D and Takala, H (2020) Getting Back to Work: Dealing with the labour market impacts of the Covid-19 recession, Institute for Employment Studies, 8 April 2020.
  3. Robert Joyce and Xiaowei Xu (2020) Sector shutdowns during the coronavirus crisis: which workers are most exposed?, Institute for Fiscal Studies, 6 April 2020