Our Vision

People develop the skills they need to lead happy and successful lives in a rapidly changing world.

Our Beliefs

Since we started the Skills Lab in 2011 the pace of change has continued at a relentless pace.  The global economy remains stalled with increasing unemployment and the continued march of intelligent machines and algorithms replacing large numbers of jobs.  It has been estimated that forty-seven per cent of current jobs are ripe for this kind of intelligent automation. Currently the education system is too focused on storing and processing information – tasks that computers are better at.

The future is likely to mean humans must focus on creativity and collaboration skills – skills sadly lacking in both our school system and too often in our businesses.

We need to respond to the opportunities and challenges that the changes in the way we work brings. The right response is to create a society where everyone has access to the kind of experiences that build their skills. There is already a body of evidence, led by Nobel Laureate Economist James Heckman that shows that non-cognitive skills such as conscientiousness, perseverance, sociability, and curiosity matter. These skills are not well captured by measures of cognition. In the paper Hard Evidence on Soft Skills, Heckman and and Kautz argue that soft skills predict success in life and that programs which enhance soft skills have an important place in an effective portfolio of public policies. As such we believe that education and on-going professional development needs to change profoundly to focus more on non-cognitive skills.

We no longer live in a factory age. Yet our schools have changed comparatively little. The online age has yet to reach schools and the teaching, measurement and improvement of soft or social skills is given little attention. Ninety percent of the working population in the UK are employed in the service sector. Here technical and social skills are critical.

We believe that skilled people live happier and more successful lives and create better and more equal societies.

Our Approach

At The Skills Lab we recognise that schools and organisations around the world need to change in order for people to be able to learn and re-learn skills.

We focus on helping organisations develop the capacity for individuals to develop skills. Our belief, backed up by research, is that soft-skills are equally and increasingly important as academic success for people learn, work and lead happy lives.

We develop approaches to skills development that enables people to get feedback on how they are doing. Lack of feedback is a severe inhibitor of skills development.

At a schools level, simply focus on improving test scores may well be failing students.  We can help schools develop their pupils’ soft-skills, measure them and improve them.  At a societal level, people who are unable to learn and re-learn skills in a world where intelligent machines are replacing ever more complex tasks may well be left behind. We can help organisations develop the skills to mitigate against this.

Our aim is to create smart, simple and practical tools that facilitate cultural change that allow people develop the skills they need to access wider life opportunities and make valuable contributions to their work and society.

All our projects are collaborative. We work in partnership with leading organisations to create services, programmes and products that drive cultural change in organisation so that the range of experiences that develop skills in young people can improve.