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What is Words for Work?

Levi Roots working with students at Elmgreen SchoolWords for Work ultimately aims to help young people to find employment. It is a school based intervention that is offered to students before they start on the journey of exams, interviews and job seeking. Words for Work focuses on improving student’s literacy skills, helps them to develop crucial employability skills and teaches them confidence in their own abilities.

Effective speaking and listening skills are critical for employability.  Words for Work challenges students to re-evaluate the way they use their communication skills by working alongside business volunteers on tasks that stimulate thought and discussion around communication and how important it may be for their future.

How is Words for Work managed?

There are three partners in the delivery of Words for Work:

The National Literacy Trust manages the programme nationally with funding and support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. We provide support to Hubs to enable them to manage the programme successfully in their local area.

Partnership diagramHubs manage the programme in their local area by recruiting schools and businesses and training business volunteers to work with students. If you would like to find out more about becoming a Words for Work Hub please contact us.

Schools organise the delivery of the programme to students, scheduling session times and dates, providing materials for sessions and arranging a celebration event.

If you are a school...

It can take a lot of organisation but it’s definitely worth it. It’s probably one of the best things I’ve done in my teaching career.

  Jo, teacher

Words for Work Resource for SchoolsThe Words for Work Resource for Schools contains everything you need to plan, deliver and evaluate Words for Work in your school.

The easy-to-use lesson base provides up to 40 hours of pre-designed session plans aimed at years 8, 9 or 10.

All topics come with links to the National Curriculum, the National Strategies Assessing Pupils' Progress Framework and Functional Skills levels 1 and 2.

 You will be supported through this process by a Hub manager who will recruit business volunteers and oversee the evaluation process. View our Hub Partners to see if there is a Hub in your area.

If you are a business...

Kate Business volunteer quote


Words for Work enables you to contribute directly to your future workforce and reinforce your CSR activity.

It provides an opportunity to promote your brand in the local community and allows you to build long-term links with local schools. View our Hub Partners to see if there is a Hub in your area.

For individual employees who volunteer it provides an opportunity for them to:

  • Improve their communication and coaching skills
  • feel the satisfaction of working with young people and ‘making a difference’
  • build on core competencies leading to increased personal effectiveness in the work place

If you would like to find out more about volunteering for Words for Work look at our frequently asked questions or contact us.


The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.