How does LifeSkills support careers education in England?

Help your students get ready for the world of work by discovering how LifeSkills aligns with the national curriculum and your responsibilities under the Careers Strategy. Content is mapped to the Gatsby Benchmarks to support your delivery and mapping can be found in this guide

LifeSkills can support your careers provision, your work with SEND learners and your development of a whole school/college approach to building skills.

Explore the tabs below to see how our resources can be embedded into your employability work, supporting you to help young people develop the right skills and knowledge for the workplace.

What’s the national approach to careers education and skills development in England?

The Government’s Careers Strategy[1] sets out a long term plan to build a world class careers system that helps young people and adults choose a career that is right for them. It aims to enable:

  • All young people to understand the full range of opportunities available to them, to learn from employers about work and the skills that are valued in the workplace and to have first-hand experience of the workplace
  • All young people in secondary school and college to get an excellent programme of advice and guidance that is delivered by individuals with the right skills and experience
  • Everyone to get support tailored to their circumstances. All adults should be able to access free face-to-face advice, with more bespoke support for those who most need it
  • Everyone to get the information they need to understand the job and career opportunities available, and how their knowledge and skills can help them in considering suitable careers

To achieve these goals, the Careers Strategy recommends that schools and colleges should follow the Gatsby Foundation Benchmarks[2], which set out eight principles that form a framework for good careers guidance. By meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks schools and colleges can be confident that they are fulfilling their career education duties, which includes offering independent careers guidance, providing opportunities for organisations to inform students about technical education and apprenticeships, and offering regular employer engagement activities. Schools can audit their own progress against the benchmarks by using the Compass Plus tool from the Careers and Enterprise Company.

You can find statutory guidance on the Careers Strategy for governing bodies, school leaders and school staff here[3].

How does LifeSkills align with recent developments in education?

In recent years, Gatsby Benchmark 1 has encouraged institutions to create a stable whole school/college approach to careers education, in particular linking careers with learning across the curriculum (Gatsby Benchmark 4). This means that all educators have a role to play in developing students’ aspirations and knowledge about career options. LifeSkills resources support this approach by linking to a wide range of subjects, helping students connect skills development to future career choices.

As highlighted in the Skills for jobs white paper in 2021[4], more skilled technicians are needed across the workforce, putting greater focus on technical education. T-levels were launched in 2020 as a two-year post-16 qualification, equivalent to three A-levels. The programme includes a minimum of 45 days’ industry experience and can be a direct route into employment or higher technical qualifications. LifeSkills resources can help students build their work readiness before their industry placements, enable them to reflect on the skills they develop and capture them on their CVs, ready for their next step.

How does LifeSkills help students develop core transferable skills?

LifeSkills provides a wide range of lessons, tools, content and resources that help students build the core transferable skills they need to succeed in the world of work: 

The programme also supports young people prepare for work by raising their awareness of the skills they are learning in education and how they can be useful in a work context. This in turn helps them to articulate and promote their skills when applying for jobs across different sectors.

The core transferable skills align with the skills that your students are already developing across the curriculum and tie in with the Essential Skills promoted by the Skills Builder Partnership in their Universal Framework[5].

With the changing world of work and the impact of recent events on the labour market, it’s important for students to understand the skills employers are now looking for and how these have changed – to find out more take a look at our Jobs of the future guide. You can also learn more about employment trends from the bank of research we have collated from organisations across the sector here.







What key education frameworks and qualifications can LifeSkills support?  

We have mapped LifeSkills content to the national curriculum in England to enable educators to use the resources across subject areas. Look at our Content curriculum guide to find lesson materials and independent learning resources for students that support your curriculum delivery.

As well as curriculum subjects and careers, LifeSkills content can support delivery of PSHE, in particular around wellbeing and financial education. Many of the resources have been awarded the Young Money quality mark.

How can LifeSkills support my school/college’s careers provision?

If you lead and coordinate delivery of careers and employability across your organisation, this presentation and delivery notes are packed with useful insights and tips so you can deliver to colleagues in your school, to help them embed employability into their subjects and departments.

Furthermore, LifeSkills can assist you to reassess your careers programme to develop a stable and credible plan to maximise your students’ employability potential. Consider which employability skills you want to focus on, then work through our free Tes CPD course to explore how you can build them into day-to-day teaching across the school.

LifeSkills can help your school/college meet the Gatsby Benchmarks. Research by the Careers and Enterprise Company in 2020 found that schools are achieving an average of 3.7 benchmarks out of eight[1]. A range of LifeSkills resources are aligned to the benchmarks, so they can help your school/college work towards achieving more of them. Download our helpful Gatsby mapping guide to find content that can help.


Research by the Careers and Enterprise Company for 2021-22 found that schools are achieving an average of 4.9 benchmarks out of eight

How does LifeSkills support students with diverse needs?

As part of Gatsby Benchmark 3 (addressing the needs of every student) schools and colleges should have a programme of careers activities that actively challenges stereotypes, raises aspirations and is tailored to the individual needs of the learner. LifeSkills offers adapted resources for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), helping to set goals and prepare for the workplace.

This includes a core set of lessons adapted for young people aged 14+ with SEND and a navigation guide to explain how the content has been adapted.

We’ve also created a suite of financial education resources for young people leaving care to help them prepare for independent living. You can find these by selecting the ‘care leavers’ filter option on the LifeSkills Lesson plans page.

LifeSkills offers content specially designed for supporting adult learners, including those at risk of becoming unemployed. You may also find some of the resources for young people are useful in working with adults – check out this guide to supporting adult learners.

How can I use LifeSkills to build inclusivity in the classroom?

Teaching diversity and inclusion is important as it helps students recognise and celebrate what makes us different to benefit themselves and their future workplaces. LifeSkills has developed a suite of diversity resources to support students to develop their understanding of diversity and inclusion, including how this will help them succeed in the world of work.

Watch our online lesson film around racial equality in the workplace or listen to five short audio case studies exploring different topics around gender, LGBTQ+, culture, age and disability.

What do educators in England say they value about LifeSkills?

“What LifeSkills does is give our students skills and knowledge which they can use in their everyday life and then transfer into the workplace, to build relationships with colleagues, make new friends and just be a part of their community.”

Supported Internship Manager, FE college, England

 “Great video material covering relevant content with great activities/handouts for learners to use and work with.”

Senior leader, secondary school, England

 “The interactive activities are attractive and easy to navigate. The use of young people in the clips is attractive to students. The graphics make it engaging. The range of topics covered is useful.”

Head of PHSE, PRU, England

How can LifeSkills be delivered and used alongside other careers resources?

LifeSkills content can be used alongside materials provided by the Careers and Enterprise Company and resources available through Local Enterprise Partnerships to build a stable careers programme. LifeSkills focuses on helping students develop their confidence, knowledge and employability skills, which in turn helps them make informed careers decisions and engage with other careers support on offer. Themes such as building a growth mindset and wellbeing complement the skills based content, to ensure young people are mentally prepared for their next step.

Educators can use the content in lessons, form periods, assemblies and careers days. You can also direct young people to use LifeSkills independently for homework tasks, holiday projects or as part of transition preparation.

Careers Advisers can use the resources in independent guidance sessions, with tools such as the Wheel of Strengths acting as effective conversation starters.

LifeSkills also has materials to support parents and carers to help their children develop employability skills, knowledge and aspirations, via the Families hub.

Where can I find out more?

  • Go to the Explore more section on our website to discover how to start building LifeSkills content into your careers programme
  • Use our Content curriculum guide to see how you can use LifeSkills resources as part of your lessons across the curriculum
  • Start building your students core transferable skills with our seven core skills lessons
  • Learn how to get recognition for your school or college’s skills programme with the LifeSkills Award

To find out more about how LifeSkills supports the curriculum across other parts of the UK select another nation: