Putting Character & Soft Skills on the Agenda

For too long, the British education system has placed far too great an emphasis on examinations and qualifications at the expense of all else. The evidence from employers is that even those students leaving school full of facts have precious little understanding of the vital skills needed in the workplace. That’s why we’ve called on the government to introduce more teaching of character and resilience in schools.

Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment & Skills at Institute of Directors

Dame Kelly Holmes Trust completely agree on the importance of developing character, resilience and soft skills; they've been at the heart of our programmes for young people since our launch in 2008. The Trust is currently one of the UK’s leading organisations promoting character development in young people.

During 2017, we are hosting a series of high profile roundtable events with key Ministers, policy advisors, business leaders, academics and influencers from across the education and youth sector. The discussions will focus on the importance of character development to enable young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to become socially mobile. We'll be looking at the value of soft skills to businesses and the UK economy, how schools and colleges can overcome challenges associated with building a character development focus to their education and discuss the role of government – both national and regional – in framing policy to allow for positive character development in young people.

Our first event was held in London earlier in the year and was chaired by Charlotte Hill, Chief Executive of Step Up to Serve:

"It was a pleasure to Chair a fascinating roundtable organised by Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, looking at the need to further embed and value character education and the development of soft skills, and improve the link between schools and employers.  It was fascinating to have perspectives from the world of work, from education leaders, the health sector, the voluntary sector and others.

Baroness Gillian Shepherd, Deputy Chair at the Social Mobility Commission was the lead contributor at the event and has taken a keen interest in the work the Trust is doing in this area. Along with new research, these discussions will inform the publication of a white paper around the subject of character development in early 2018.

We're delighted to be working alongside the Jubilee Centre for Character & Virtues and are proud that our President & Founder, Dame Kelly Holmes has written the foreword to their latest report, Flourishing from the Margins, officially launched on 26th October 2017.

We held the first of our regional round tables in Birmingham on 26th October and followed this up with two more events in Bridgend and Manchester in mid November. 

All the round tables were incredibly interesting and insightful and we want to thank everybody who took time to attend and share their thoughts around this important topic.

To find out more about our work,  or to see how you can get involved, please email us at [email protected]