About the Programme

The Better Workers Better Learners programme is a step beyond the traditional model of one business connected to one school. It connects an employment sector, or whole series of employers, to a group of schools. This allows a range of employers to contribute and allows schools a wider link to employers in the local community.

At the heart of Better Learners Better Workers is the concept of student Ambassadors aged 13-16 who are given a rich range of experiences both in school and in the workplace to develop their job-ready skills and attitudes and their sector-specific understanding. The Ambassadors promote employment sectors to their peers and showcase young people’s talents and abilities. At the end of the programme, each Ambassador gains an employer-endorsed Skills Passport.

The programme is currently running in 30 schools training 500 Ambassadors and reaching over 6000 young people across Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

Better Learners Better Workers embeds work skills into the curriculum through real-life industry projects and training sessions, work placements, internships, and greater engagement between employers and schools. The whole programme is backed up by a strong Quality Framework and Skills Framework which have been co-created by businesses and education.

The programme started in 2010 when the Company of Cutlers, which represents top engineering and manufacturing employers in Sheffield City Region, undertook a study with Sheffield City Council into what employers needed from school leavers. The Better Learners Better Workers programme was developed based on the outputs of this research and was initially piloted in three schools, working with the 14-16 age group. The pilot programme focused on two sectors: Engineering, with support from the Company of Cutlers; Healthcare, working with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. This was rapidly followed by a third programme for the Computing sector working with the University of Sheffield.

The scheme now works in six sectors and is continuing to expand, equipping young people with World of Work ‘WOW’ factor skills in the following:

  • Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing
  • NHS, Health and Social Care
  • Construction and the Built Environment
  • Arts and Cultural
  • Digital and Computer Science
  • Emergency Services


Better Learners Better Workers