Every child and young person needs a set of essential skills to succeed: to work with others, to manage themselves, to creatively solve problems, and to communicate effectively.


This website supports the book 'The Missing Piece: The Skills that Education Forgot'. It brings together practical tools and resources to build those essential skills – whether you are a teacher, school leader, parents or student yourself.

Order the book on Amazon


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The eight skills

for success in education, enterprise and employment

The ability to listen and understand information.


The ability to transmit ideas to others.


The ability to logically tackle challenges.


The ability to generate and develop new ideas.


The ability to overcome setbacks and manage risk.


The ability to create realistic plans for high aspirations.


The ability to support, encourage and motivate others.


The ability to work with others towards a shared goal.



The six principles

for developing these skills effectively

1. Keep it simple

Stay focused on a small number of essential skills

A consistent focus on the eight essential skills helps ensure everyone’s shared understanding and makes building them as tangible as possible.

2. Start young and keep going

Teach skills throughout education

Starting as young as 3 years old and keeping going to the end of formal education and beyond allows time for mastery, and ensures the skills help unlock other learning.

3. Measure it

Assess skills and track progress along the way

Quantifying skills ensures a balanced understanding of strengths and weaknesses, as well as highlighting progress and demonstrating the next steps.

4. Focus tightly

Give time to just focus on the skills

Building skills should build upon children and young people's previous learning and focus on achieving mastery by giving the skills the time and focus they need.

5. Keep practising

Reinforce skills and strengths across school life

To accelerate progress in the essential skills, they should be applied and reinforced elsewhere in the curriculum and outside it.

6. Bring it to life

Make skills relevant and transferable

Real-life links can bring the skills to life – by taking children and young people out of the classroom and by bringing real-life problems and challenges into it.


Skills Builder framework

for detailed tracking of skill development

The Skills Builder framework breaks down each of the eight essential skills into teachable and measurable chunks. We can use it with children, young people, and ourselves.

The framework is a culmination of five years of learning, and draws together the expertise of more than fifty leading individuals and organisations. It has been independently reviewed twice, and used with over 150,000 students through Enabling Enterprise.

Download the Skills Builder Framework

Assess children or young people against the Framework


Enabling Enterprise

for schools that build essential skills for every child

Enabling Enterprise is an award-winning social enterprise, working with children and young people across the country and internationally. The programme works at primary and secondary school level to systematically build the essential skills for success. Students benefit from regular ‘enterprise’ lessons, challenge days, and visits to employers. We support their teachers with training, support, and the tools to assess and understand their students’ skills.

Last year, 86,000 students completed an Enabling Enterprise programme, and you can get in touch if you’d like your school to join this partnership.

Go to the Enabling Enterprise website


Teach Enterprise

for teaching essential skills to young people

Teach Enterprise has been designed for individual teachers or trainers to build the essential skills of their young people.

Teach Enterprise works through a series of punchy 10 minute videos to build the essential skills robustly, and engagingly – with exercises to practice them along the way too.

Go to the Teach Enterprise website


The Missing Piece

by Tom Ravenscroft, Founder & CEO of Enabling Enterprise


There is something fundamental missing in education. Knowledge and good grades are not enough.

All of us, whatever we do, need some essential skills which go beyond the academic - to work with others, to manage ourselves, to communicate effectively, and to creatively solve problems. We draw on them as much as numeracy or literacy.

So why, as an education system, don't we value these skills even as employers, universities and entrepreneurs cry out for them? Tom Ravenscroft reflects on a decade of building these skills through an award-winning social enterprise with over 150,000 children and young people to ask this critical question and more: Why are we so quick to presume these skills are innate, or just picked up along the way? How are they really built and how can we use this knowledge as teachers, parents, or even in our own lives?

And facing a future of automation when these skills are going to be paramount, what would it take to ensure that every student mastered them?

Order the book on Amazon


Blogs and press

Read our thoughts on building the essential skills

The i paper, 2017
School reports miss the talents that matter – just look at Alan Turing
The education system can sometimes struggle to cope with lateral thinkers. Learning has become formulaic – a case of regurgitating knowledge in the right spot on an exam paper, and in the right structure to secure all the marks available for a question.
Tes, 2017
‘The Missing Piece’ book review – Dr. Mary Bousted
Former Teach First trainee and social entrepreneur Tom Ravenscroft spotted a vital skills gap among his business students when he began the Teach First programme. With the support of Teach First’s Innovation Unit, he successfully scaled his unique enterprise-based teaching approach beyond his own classroom.
Teach First Impact Report, 2017
Innovation Partner
Former Teach First trainee and social entrepreneur Tom Ravenscroft spotted a vital skills gap among his business students when he began the Teach First programme. With the support of Teach First’s Innovation Unit, he successfully scaled his unique enterprise-based teaching approach beyond his own classroom.
The Young Foundation, 2017
Innovating to create education’s missing piece
A decade ago, I was looking out across my classroom in Hackney in East London and it struck me. The students in front of me were 14 or 15 years-old. They were not expected to continue in the school’s sixth form, which meant that the realities of college or employment were just eighteen months away.
Schools Week, 2017
Profiles: Tom Ravenscroft
Tom Ravenscroft is perhaps the most quietly passionate proponent of a “skills” curriculum in education today – and if that rings alarm bells, keep reading.
CBI Business Voice, 2017
Teaching employability
From the front line of teaching, Tom Ravenscroft asked what it would take to build essential employability skills with the same rigour as we apply to literacy and numeracy.
Year Here, 2017
The skills that the school system forgot
Tom Ravenscroft is the Founder and CEO of a social enterprise whose mission is to equip young people with the skills, aspirations and experiences they need to succeed in life. Having recently published a book distilling the keys lessons he has learnt, Sunil Suri sat down to interview him and learn a little more.
NAHT Edge, 2017
Essential skills: Who ever got 97% of teachers to agree to anything?
New research from the Sutton Trust shows 97 per cent of teachers say life skills are at least as important as academic qualifications. Employers and students agree. These skills are a critical missing piece in our education system.
#iwill, 2017
Supercharging the essential skills through youth social action
The power of youth social action is undeniable. I say that both as a huge admirer of so many of the organisations who are part of the #iwill campaign, but also from our experience at Enabling Enterprise over the last eight years.
Fair Education Alliance, 2017
Something is missing if we want to make education fair
Education in England is not fair. It is to the credit of the Fair Education Alliance, of which Enabling Enterprise is an enthusiastic founding member, that we have begun to see this as not a natural state of affairs, but as a fixable problem.
National Education Union (ATL section), 2017
Teaching essential skills
Tom Ravenscroft, Founder & CEO of Enabling Enterprise, an award-winning social enterprise working with schools on developing employability skills, shares his experience.

See it in action

Discover case studies that demonstrate the impact