It has never been more important to build a set of essential skills to succeed in life for our children and young people: the ability to creatively solve problems, to self-manage, to communicate effectively, and to work well with others. At Teddington we work with Skillsbuilder who define the essential skills as: Listening, Speaking, Problem Solving, Creativity, Staying Positive, Aiming High, Leadership and Teamwork.

Ted talks skills

This year we are including the programme as part of our Year 9 and Year 10 Future Fridays sessions. The programme focussed on 6 principles:

  1. Keep it simple A consistent focus on the same skills helps ensure everyone’s shared understanding and makes building these skills as tangible as possible.
  2. Start early, keep going Mastering these essential skills isn't simple and takes time and sustained effort. The skills are not just about employability, but about thriving in all aspects of life.
  3. Measure it. Take time to reflect on the skills of individuals – by observing or by self-assessment. This gives a balanced understanding of strengths and weaknesses, highlights progress and shows next steps.
  4. Focus tightly. Building essential skills should build upon a student's previous learning and skill attainment. It should allow dedicated time just to explicitly build skills.
  5. Keep practising. To accelerate progress in the essential skills, they should be used and reinforced as often as possible – including opportunities for reflection.
  6. Bring it to life. Ensure students see the relevance of these skills by linking them with the real world and by bringing real-life problems and challenges to work on.


Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A CV should have standard information about yourself as well as outlining your qualities, skills, and qualifications. You should try to tailor your CV towards the type of job you are applying for. For example: if you are applying for a job in a nursery, you would list your strengths concerning working with children such as patience and having a friendly manner. Even if you are good at maths, you would probably not make this the highlight of your CV (although most jobs benefit from having good maths ability!).

Application letter

This is usually sent alongside a CV. The same rules apply for a covering email, explaining who you are, the position you are applying for and a line referring to the attached CV.

Interview Skills

There is so much information on how to conduct yourself in an interview situation; lots of books are written on this subject. There isn't the space to cover everything here but there are main points which are important to consider if you get through to the interview stage for an opportunity.


Personal grooming is extremely important when it comes to interviews. Make sure you are freshly showered/bathed, hair is tidy, and teeth cleaned! You might think an interviewer will not notice but they do pick up on the smallest things. Clothes and shoes should be clean and smart. Remember to smile and be courteous in everything you do whilst at an employer's premises.

Firm Handshake

No one like to shake a limp hand although it shouldn't be bone crushing either! It may seem insignificant, but first impressions count, and a firm handshake starts your interview experience in an assertive way.

Eye Contact

Maintain eye contact to show you are listening. It is fine to look away whilst gathering your thoughts but try to speak clearly and directly to your interviewer.

Be Positive

Answer all questions in a positive way. Even if you think you cannot give an answer, think of something similar. It is fine to say, 'I haven't been involved in this, but I have done ...'. Most interviews will involve you giving examples of situations and how your actions have achieved results. A good way to remember this is the acronym STAR

Star acronym


There is usually the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview and it's a good idea to prepare two or three questions beforehand. Try to include information in your questions where the employer becomes aware that you have researched the organisation, for example: 'I understand that you have a great track record for customer satisfaction. Is there specialised customer service training associated with this role?'

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