Words for Work

Words for Work

Words for Work is the National Literacy Trust’s flagship literacy and employability programme. The programme gives young people from disadvantaged communities the literacy and communication skills they need to reach their potential.

The programme brings schools, colleges and businesses together to take literacy from the classroom and into the workplace.

Words for Work

About the programme

Research shows that young people entering the workplace often lack the speaking and listening skills to communicate successfully.

70% of employers rate literacy skills as one of their three most important considerations when recruiting school and college leavers. CBI Education and Skills Annual Report

Words for Work aims to:

  • Demonstrate the importance of literacy for success in employment by providing workplace context for students
  • Improve young people’s verbal and written communication skills through activities lead by teachers and through engagement with corporate volunteers
  • Give young people confidence in their own abilities and raise their career aspirations

Our programmes

  • Dream big cloud

    Words for Work: Dream Big

    Together schools and local businesses support Key Stage 1 pupils to develop their literacy skills, raise aspirations and challenge stereotypes.
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  • Words for Work

    Words for Work: KS3 or KS4

    Business volunteers bring workplace communication into the classroom to unlock students' speaking and listening skills.
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  • Post 16 3.jpg

    Words for Work: Post-16

    Businesses open their doors to students giving them an insight into literacy and communication.
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  • secondary girls and teacher

    Words for Work: Women in Leadership

    Words for Work: Women in Leadership helps girls and young women in post-16 education develop the literacy skills, leadership abilities and confidence they need to achieve...
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“I found the Words for Work programme a huge success and a pleasure to be a part of. It was incredible to see how quickly their confidence flourished and how much enjoyment and experience the students got from the programme. I recommend any school to be a part of this programme; it really does ignite a fire in students that you wouldn't typically see.”

Emma Bowler, St Peters Academy, Stoke-on-Trent

Get involved

Schools and colleges

If you are interested in running Words for Work in your school, please contact us to join our waiting list.

Contact us.


Local business volunteers from a wide range of professions and industries can take part in Words for Work.

Register here.

Corporate partners

Corporate partners play a significant role in supporting Words for Work, funding the project in local schools, hosting visits at their sites and providing volunteers.

Email us.

Who does Words for Work help?

Words for Work has numerous benefits for students, teachers and businesses across local communities:

  • Students

    Words for Work develops students' literacy and communication skills to help them to achieve their aspirations. Words for Work can help schools to achieve The Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance.

  • Schools and colleges

    Students’ confidence and speaking skills are improved through working with local business volunteers.

  • Businesses

    Words for Work enables businesses to contribute directly to their future workforce and can form a part of CSR activity.

  • Employees

    Through working with young people, Words for Work helps employees build their coaching skills, helping to improve communication at work.

Success stories

Read more about how Words for Work has impacted students, schools and businesses.