Essential Skills Framework

What is the Essential Skills framework?

This is a consistent, universal approach to a set of essential skills important for individuals to thrive in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. 

These are the transferable skills which ‘almost everyone needs to do almost any job.  They are the skills that make specific knowledge and technical skills fully productive’. 

We define the essential skills as: Listening, Speaking, Problem Solving, Creativity, Staying Positive, Aiming High, Leadership and Teamwork.

A growing evidence base

Over the last year, three research reports exploring the impact of essential skills have shown that individuals with higher levels of essential skills achieve greater success in all areas of life.

  • Employees aged 19+ who have higher levels of essential skills earn up to £10,200 more per year than those with lower levels of essential skills
  • There is a strong correlation between higher levels of essential skills and higher levels of literacy, numeracy and career aspirations
  • Skills like teamwork, speaking and listening improve emotional competencies, self-regulation, relationships and wellbeing

How to embed the framework through your outreach activities

During your outreach activities, please ensure the young people are given an opportunity to develop these skills:

  • Ask the young people to identify which of the essential skills are their weakest and then focus on these ones through the activity
  • Think of tasks / activities that focus on these skills, e.g.:
    • Speaking - asking the young people to present back to you
    • Listening - you could focus on the listening skill by inviting the student to a meeting and then asking them questions afterwards.
    • Teamwork - put the young people into teams to work on a task / project
    • Aiming High - the young people think about their career aspirations and make a 5 year plan 
  • Explain to the young people the skills that they have learnt during a task / activity

If you’re interested in learning more about the framework, please visit