School to Work

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The School to Work campaign aims to embed an accredited School to Work Framework into the curriculum so that every person aged 9 to 18 is better prepared for the world of work.

The Framework will increase engagement between employers and schools and develop the core skills young people need to thrive in the modern workplace, and understand the diversity of routes into work.

Why do we need the School to Work campaign?

In September 2016 the EY Foundation, in collaboration with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), published An Age of Uncertainty. Based on research with 1,500 young people, the report found that young people’s experience of the transition to work is inconsistent and heavily dependent on where they live, their school, and socio-economic background. It also showed they lack the core skills needed to succeed in the world of work and knowledge about the job market and the diversity of routes available into work – all of which undermines their ambition.

To mirror this research, in June 2017 we carried out a survey with small and medium businesses to investigate employer’s perceptions of young people’s readiness for the workplace.

More than half felt young people did not have the core skills they need for an entry level job, and 66% strongly believed employability skills should be a statutory part of the national curriculum. This reinforced feedback received from over 50 small, medium and large employers received during UK-wide employer roundtable events we held in autumn 2016 and spring 2017.

Our research reveals that, while many schools and employers have developed good practice preparing young people for work, this is inconsistent, and disadvantages those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. The School to Work Framework will ensure every young person receives the right support to transition successfully into work. Read the full report.

Who is driving the campaign?

The campaign is led by a School to Work coalition made up of representatives from four key working groups:

  • a National Youth Panel of ten young people from across the UK who will ensure the campaign is relevant to young people
  • the employers working group, chaired by EY Chief Economist Mark Gregory, which represents a cross-section of the UK’s major businesses
  • the education and government working group, chaired by Dame Mary Marsh
  • the voluntary and community sector, chaired by Lyn Cole, former Grantsmaking Director at the Big Lottery Fund.

These groups will ensure the Framework meets the needs of the UK’s diverse population of young people while reflecting employers’ workplace requirements.

The School to Work campaign is co-ordinated by the EY Foundation, which supports it by seeking funding and providing expertise and networks. However, the EY Foundation does not own the campaign. It has an independent governance Framework with decisions made by an oversight group made up of the four representative working groups.

What does the School to Work campaign timeline look like?

The campaign launches in September 2017 in London and Manchester.

From September 2017 to May 2018 we will work with a Framework development partner to design the Framework, with input from our four working groups and evaluation partner. We will also develop the relevant accreditation and evaluation framework, and secure pilot sites.

From September 2018 to September 2020 we will introduce a phased pilot across the UK covering years five to thirteen. Our evaluation partner will monitor and evaluate the Framework during this phase and beyond to assess its short- and long-term impact on young people and employers.

The Scotland and Wales pilot will take place after the pilot in England so we can learn from our experience and adapt the Framework to Scotland’s education system.

Why is the EY Foundation well placed to support this campaign?

The EY Foundation has a strong track record delivering high quality programmes (Smart Futures and Our Future) which help young people successfully transition into work or further education through employability skills training, work experience and mentoring. These programmes are accredited, and those who successfully complete them receive a recognised management skills qualification.

The EY Foundation’s programmes have already supported more than1,000 young people across the UK, but the only way to offer this to all young people and ensure they have access to the same skills and information is to add a School to Work Framework into the curriculum.


For more information on School to Work please contact the team:

+44 (0)20 7951 3133