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Words for Work: KS4 and Post-16

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Businesses open their doors to students giving them an insight into literacy and communication.

About the programme

Words for Work: Key Stage 4 and Post-16 gives students the opportunity to meet business volunteers and understand the practical application of literacy within the workplace.

Engaging with business volunteers will either happen through students visiting a local business or business volunteers visiting the classroom. Students take part in skill-building workshops and receive support through mentoring.

The programme has been designed to work with all students, and can be particularly beneficial for functional skills learners.

During teacher-led sessions, students focus on developing their formal writing and speaking skills, meaningfully applying activities to the world of work. Workshops include interview practice, elevator pitches, formal emails and CVs. Students present these to business volunteers within a mentoring workshop.

“The post-16 Words for Work programme is crucial for the development of oracy and confidence skills. For young people who are leaving school, starting a college course, and preparing for employment, what better opportunity than to develop these skills, via real employers at inspirational workplaces. This is the key step for post-16 students from the classroom to their future."

Marta Essinki, Head of English and Maths at Ealing College

Opportunities for 2023-24

We invite schools and colleges in Nottingham, Bristol, Birmingham, Bradford, London and Manchester to take part in the programme this academic year. There are places available in these areas for delivery in the spring and summer terms 2024.

Places are fully funded and resourced. You'll also receive a year of National Literacy Trust premium membership and book gifting per student, or for your school library.

If you're teaching students in Key Stage 4 or Post-16 in one of areas listed above and would like to learn more, email

The impact

After taking part in the programme:

  • 99% of students felt more confident in an interview context

  • Nearly five times as many students felt confident in formal writing required for the workplace after taking part in the programme

  • 91% of students felt the programme prepared them to enter employment

  • 98% said they have gained a better understanding of workplace communication