Life Skills


Free Functional Skills and Skills for Life resources

LifeSkills, created with Barclays, is a free, curriculum-linked programme designed to give young people in the UK access to the skills, information and opportunities they need to help them towards getting the jobs they want. In schools, online and through work experience, LifeSkills help young people be the best they can be.

Key skills

Whether you want to build up your self-confidence or you’re not sure where to start with your CV, we can help you with the key skills you need to help you get where you want to be.

  • Getting to know yourself

  • Researching what you want to do

  • Understanding culture and different roles

    Work’s a different environment to school. You’ll be joining people of different ages, with different skills and from different backgrounds. It’s vital that you’re prepared, feel comfortable and get along with your colleagues.

  • Making the most of your time

  • Building skills

  • Researching businesses

  • Gaining experience

  • Getting good advice

    Other people’s guidance can be really helpful when choosing what kind of job, or course of study, you’d like to do. Friends, family, teachers or mentors can all help you get a realistic idea of the route you’d like to take.

  • Writing your CV

  • Making connections

    Not all jobs are advertised. In fact, a lot of people find out about vacancies through word of mouth. That makes personal relationships important: the more people you get to know, and the more ways you can demonstrate your abilities, the better. You may just find your dream job this way.

  • Understanding job ads

    Job ads are the most obvious way to find out about opportunities that might suit you. They can also help you decide whether the vacancy is right for you, and give you the information you need for a strong application

  • Building self-confidence

  • Preparing for an interview


–Martin Luthrt King Jr. “I have a dream 1/2″


Building self-confidenceThe key to confidence is trusting yourself to do your best in challenging situations like an interview, performing on stage or speaking up in class. It’s something most people have to work on at some point in their lives. And there are plenty of things you can do to improve yours.

  1. Building self-confidence : Self-confidence is important when you’re looking for a job. You need to believe in yourself to be able to sell yourself to employers. Get some inspiration from the gallery and boost your confidence.
  2. Learning from athletes : Think of your favourite athlete. What do you associate with them – their performance in front of a huge crowd, a world record, a medal?  That achievement is based on training, a lot of which will be mental, as well as physical. They work on building confidence so that they can keep ‘going for gold’ even when things get difficult.
  3. Tips for becoming more assertive : Top five tips to be assertive.
  4. Stress busters : A little bit of stress before a big event can help your mind and body perform at their best. But sometimes stress works against you, making you feel tired, worried and bad tempered. If that souds familiar, why not try making these changes?
  5. Building self-confidence’ quiz! : See how much you’ve found out about this key skill by answering the three questions.

Getting to know yourself

Knowing what job you want can be tricky, and some of the choices you make now could affect what you do in the future. Getting to know yourself better, understanding what makes you happy, and discovering your strengths will help you prepare for what’s ahead.

  1. Wheel of Strengths : Choose the strengths, interests and personality traits that best describe you. Then discover the types of jobs you are suited to and use this as a starting point in your job search.
  2. Tips for getting motivated : Understanding what motivates you can help you plan ahead and achieve things you’ll be proud of. Here are some hints to get started.
  3. Ask about your strengths : A great way to find out more about yourself is to ask people you like, trust and respect what they think you’re best at. Why not make a list of people to ask about what kind of job they think might suit your strengths and personality?
  4. Get a better picture of yourself : If you can’t find time to talk with friends or family about the jobs that might suit you, why not use our Personality Score Chart?
  5. Try a personality test :  One way to find out more about yourself is to take a personality test. Why not search for one online and see what they reveal about you? They could help you see what kind of jobs are good matches for your personality.
  6. Getting to know yourself’ quiz! : See how much you’ve found out about this key skill by answering the three questions below.

Making the most of your time

School doesn’t last forever. While you’re there, why not use the time to make some positive decisions about your future? Decision-making can be tricky but – with a bit of planning and thought – it needn’t be that hard at all.

  1. How to begin making choices : One of the best things about getting older, is that you start to make decision for yourself.
  2. How to sort out your time: From now on, life will get busier. How will you organize your time? Here are some tips!
  3. Managing your time: Whichever sort of job you’re thinking about to doing, you’ll need to be able to manage your time and prioritse important tasks.
  4. ‘Making the most of your time’ quiz! : See how much you’ve found out about this key skill by answering the three questions.

Researching what you want to doDo you already know what you want to do when you leave school? Even if you have a job in mind or plan to carry on studying, learning more about your choices can help you decide which direction to take

  1. Job Board Finding a job that interests you is a good way to make sure you are happy at work. Explore the Job Board and start to find out more about different job roles.
  2. Making choices : What are you planning to do when you finish school? To carry on studying or go straight into a job? It can really pay off to research your options carefully before you make your next move. Staying on at school and getting a weekend job or choosing an apprenticeship and studying part-time, could give you the best of both worlds.
  3. Working conditions : Your working conditions will depend on what sort of job you do. For example, if you want to be a hairdresser you should expect to work at evenings and weekends. Being a gardener will probably mean working outside a lot.
  4. First jobs of famous people : Whatever job you end up doing, you’ve got to start somewhere. Would you have guessed these celebrities’ first jobs?
  5. Whose job is this? : Whose job is this? You might have heard relatives or older friends say that their job title is an IT Manager, an Occupational Therapist or a Landscape Gardener. But do you know what they do day-to-day? See if you can match the descriptions to the job titles. The answers are here.
  6. Researching what you want to do’ quiz! : See how much you’ve found out about this key skill by answering the three questions.

Researching businesses

Whether you’re applying for work experience at a local firm or a place on a school leaver’s programme, it pays to know about a company before you contact them. Being able to show knowledge of a business in your application or interview could give you an edge and help you get the job.

  1. Researching Businesses : Get top tips for researching a company, so you can ask valuable questions at your interview and impress with your knowledge.
  2. How to use your research
  3. Could an employer research you? :  When you’re researching businesses, it’s also important to think about what a potential employer might be able to find out about you by looking online.
  4. Career events and apprenticeship fairs : These are great place to get ideas and meet people who could help you get the job you want. Companies usually pay to be at career events as they’re serious about finding talented school-leavers to join their business.
  5. Finding out about school-leaver programmes : Finding out about school-leaver programmes
  6. Researching businesses’ quiz! : See how much you’ve found out about this key skill by answering the three questions.

Gaining experience

Work experience is based on a simple truth: the best way of knowing what a job is like is by trying it. Not only will you get a good sense of what it involves, you’ll also develop your skill and expand your CV. By doing this, you’ll impress future employers.

  1. How to gain experience : Gaining experience can be hard but there are things you can do that will not only show off your initiative but also look great on your CV. Who knows it could even lead to your own business but it will certainly help you gain valuable skills.
  2. What work experience gives you : There are many ways in which experience in the workplace helps you, including skills, contacts, a stromger CV, a good reference and confidence.
  3. What types of experience are there? : The phrase ‘work experience’ covers a number of options. Take a look at these and see which suits you best.
  4. Volunteering: what you need to know : Volunteering is probably the easist way to get work experience. If you think it might interest you, here are some handy points.
  5. Adding it to your CV :  Once you’ve done your work experience, you can add it to your ever-growing CV. Here are some things to keep in mind.
  6. Gaining experience’ quiz!: See how much you’ve found out about this key skill by answering the three questions below.

Writing your CV

Your CV (or curriculum vitae) exists simply to get you to an interview, where you can speak for yourself. So it needs to work hard on your behalf, sell your skills to your potential employer, and stand out from everyone else’s.

  1. Play The Boss : Bosses are very busy people. They won’t have long to look at a CV before deciding if it should be put forward for the job. So you need to make sure your CV stands out for the right reasons.
  2. CV Builder : A standout CV will ensure time-poor employers take notice. Use the CV Builder to create a CV that gets to the top of the pile when you start applying for jobs.
  3. Top tips for a tailored CV : Your best chance of getting through to interview is by using the job ad to focus your CV.
  4. How to review your CV :  Picture your CV sitting in a pile with lots of with others. While you can’t physically put it on the top, there are a few things you can do that will give it a better chnce of getting there.
  5. Your language choices : Remember that your CV is all about selling yourself. So it helps to be positive, confident and assertive. You can achieve all of these things through the language you use.
  6. Filling out application forms :  More and more companies are asking people to fill in application forms online, rather than send in CVs. It’s a way of immediately getting relevant, detailed information, so that only the people who complete the form well get through to interview.  As a result, the forms can be long and need thought and concentration. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
  7. ‘Writing your CV’ quiz! : See how much you’ve found out about this key skill by answering the three questions below.

Preparing for an interview

Interviews can be scary. But if you spend time preparing beforehand, you’ll give yourself the best chance of creating a good impression, and getting that job.

  1. Mock Interview : Sharpen your interview skills with a mock interview and discover the top tips that will help you get the job.
  2. Top tips for getting ready : Top five tips for getting ready : get the details; research the compamy; practise questions and answers; plan the day; give yourself the best start.
  3. Do you have any questions? : Remember that interviews are for you too. You want to know that the job and the company will be right for you. So when your interviewer asks if you have any questions, make the most of it. Which of these things might you want to know more about?
  4. What employers are looking for :  A little whi;e ago over a thousand employers were surveyed to find out what skills they looked for in recent school leavers. Five really stood out. You can use your application and interview to show that you’re skilled up.
  5. What to wear : Dressing the part for youe interview means you could stand a better chance of getting the job. Here area few tips to getting it right.
  6. Preparing for an interview’ quiz! : See how much you’ve found out about this key skill by answering the three questions below.



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