Skills Builder Universal Framework launched

20 May 2020 Michelle Rea

Gatsby and other organisations in the world of education and skills are today calling for a shared focus on essential skills with the launch of the ‘Skills Builder Universal Framework’.

The eight essential skills

The eight essential skills are in four pairs

The framework offers employers, employees, and young people a common approach to develop and describe the transferable essential skills which ‘almost everyone needs to do almost any job.’ It enables employers to identify these skills in candidates and employees and supports individuals to build them in incremental steps.

The Essential Skills Taskforce members are: Business in the Community, Careers & Enterprise Company, the CIPD, CBI, EY Foundation, Gatsby, and Skills Builder Partnership.

The Skills Builder Universal Framework provides a common language of eight essential skills: listening, speaking, problem solving, creativity, staying positive, aiming high, leadership and teamwork. Building upon its success within education the Universal Framework will for the first time provide both educators and employers with the confidence that they can develop and assess the right skills in the right way.

Sir John Holman, chair Essential Skills Taskforce and Senior Adviser to the Gatsby Foundation said:

“One of the main barriers to making the most of your workforce’s essential skills is the lack of understanding around what skills we and other people have, and how we can describe, measure and develop them. For the first time, this Universal Framework gives us a shared language and shared understanding across education and across different workplaces to help employers to get the best from their workforce and to help people to better manage the points of transition in their lives.”

Daniel Sandford-Smith, Programme Director at Gatsby, who represented Gatsby on the Taskforce said:

“I believe that what has been created helps to solve a longstanding challenge in this country. The Skills Builder Universal Framework provides an invaluable mechanism for individuals, schools and colleges, and employers to work together to develop and build on the essential skills that the UK needs.”

Dame Vivian Hunt, Managing Partner McKinsey and non-executive director at CBI said:

“Businesses should urgently revisit the skills needed to restart and reimagine the economy (in light of COVID-19), support communities, and build back to a ‘new normal’ which leaves no one behind. One of the greatest opportunities and responsibilities we have as employers is expanding the support we provide young people and those in vulnerable jobs to develop the skills needed as they face disruptions in their education and employment.”

Developed with social mobility and associated benefits including innovation and productivity in mind, the framework is seen as part of the solution to the problem of widening inequality and a way to recognise and develop skills that were undervalued before COVID-19 but are even more essential now. Employers and educators are urged to adopt the universal framework and use the resources at