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Employability for Life Charter or Charter Plus

19 February 2016

Essex County Council and the Essex Employment and Skills Board have been working alongside businesses and other key partners on the Employability for Life Steering Group to support schools and colleges to prepare students for working life. This work has evolved through the Employability for Life Charter (pre-16) and Charter Plus (post-16 students) Awards.

What is Employability for Life Charter or Charter Plus?

Employability for Life Charter or Charter Plus is an award developed by education and employers in Essex to help young people evidence the key ‘core’ skills they have advanced both inside and outside of education in preparation for employment, apprenticeships and further and higher education.

Why do young people need to develop and promote their core skills?

In the CBI report ‘Inspiring Growth 2015’ it is clear that 85% of employers want to recruit a school or college leaver with the right ‘attitude’ and 58% of employers state that want young people with the aptitude; while only 39% of employers want the qualifications. 


We know that attitude, aptitude and qualifications all go hand in hand. Employers are saying they want to see more young people with work experience as well as the key core skills. Employability for Life is about developing and enhancing those skills to sit alongside good qualifications.
How will it help a young person?

The awards have evolved as a tool for a young person to analyse and reflect on their key skills and look at how they can be developed during and post education. This reflection is developed through the use of Individual and Witness Statements and a final Reflective Statement that ensures the young person understands their key skills in preparation for job or education interviews.    

What is involved if you are a young person?

Young people will collect evidence that will highlight their key core skills.  The evidence can be gathered both in and outside of school/college and will include work experience reports; school/college reports; certificates;  press releases; witness statements from part-time jobs, clubs, volunteering opportunities, charity events or hobbies. 


All of these pieces of evidence contribute to the Employability for Life portfolio framework.  In addition the portfolio will require evidence of two employer and/or volunteering interventions.  All of this evidence will enable a young person to build a portfolio to prove they meet the Employability for Life Standards. 

The evidence must support the following key standards:

Employability for Life Charter – 14+ Employability for Life Charter Plus- 16+
Attendance and Punctuality Attendance, Punctuality and Appearance
Appearance  communication
Communication Motivation, Commitment and Achievement
Motivation Professional Conduct
Professional Conduct Problem Solving and Resilience
Problem Solving Teamwork and Leadership

What does a young person gain at the end?

The young person will receive a certificate at either: Gold, Silver or Bronze Award and they will be able to take their portfolio of evidence to interviews.  In fact it is a tool that a student could continue to enhance as they attain more certificates and development opportunities during their education and later employment.

How to get involved?

If you are an Essex school and would like to get involved in Employability for Life, please contact


The Careers Education and Guidance Programmes established in schools will help to prepare young people for life in the world of work. Good careers programmes will only make a difference if employers are engaged in a range of activities that will support young people in developing their skills and raising awareness of their chosen education and career pathway.


By getting involved in schools you are supporting young people to develop their employability skills and therefore their Charter or Charter Plus.


Activities in schools could include: 

  • Classroom or assembly talks on career pathway/sectors
  • Practise applications/interviews
  • Becoming a mentor/e-mentor
  • Providing business problem solving activities
  • Providing vocational ambassadors
  • Providing enterprise advisers
  • Supporting the school/college SMT on specific projects

Activities outside school:

  • Hosting industry visits
  • Contributing to Careers events
  • Contributing to studies for students
  • Providing experience of work or shadowing opportunities
  • Providing placements for teachers
  • Supporting an after school or weekend enrichment activity

Other activities  

  • Offering Apprenticeship opportunities.

How to get involved?

If you would like more information about Employability for Life or would like to get involved in working in schools supporting the Employability for Life Award, please email: