Message from the Chair of Trustees

My passion for teaching young people skills for their life post education was formed by life experience. I went to a grammar school which I heartily disliked, so spent 6 years doing everything I could to avoid learning anything.  Then I got married, had three children and became a part time secretary.

Then, on my 40th birthday, my ex-husband left me with everything that ate – children, cat, dog and goldfish!  The one thing he didn’t leave me was any money to live on so I had to get a serious job.

I worked hard and with a great deal of luck and some wonderful business mentors, within 10 years I was CEO and owner of Isuzu Truck (UK) – the UK arm of the worlds largest truck manufacturer based in Tokyo.

However, everything I could have learned at school FOC and in my own time I had to learn with 3 children, a full-time job and 3am lessons on line.

During my time at Isuzu I interviewed many young school leavers and it was normally a disaster!  No interview skills made it really difficult to talk to them and, if we did employ them it took about a year to get them acclimatized to the world of work.  We had to teach them to write reports and business letters, make presentations at meetings, be punctual, talk confidently with customers and handle complaints without losing their tempers.

This was not their fault.  It was because the education system simply didn’t teach soft skills that would be so necessary for the rest of their lives once they left school and, in my opinion, the school curriculum is not fit for purpose in the modern world.  Would you believe that IT is not a core subject – madness!

So, when I became Chair of the Skills for Life Trust, I did so on the agreement that we would do everything we could to prepare our young people to become the best adults they could possibly be and to live their dreams and be successful as parents, members of their local community and in the business world.

This is why we provide business mentors for all year 9 and above who will be with our students until they leave for further education or full-time employment.

Regular careers assemblies allow our young people to discover the wide range of opportunities in all different types of industry.

Soft skills are woven through all lessons and courses on sales, customer service, public speaking and many others are also available to both primary and secondary students.

We have many links with the local community.  For example, our primary schools are linked to old people’s homes and the benefit for the children and the elderly are immeasurable.  Our secondary schools help local charities on a regular basis.

Our DY department covers many trades up to NVQ2, giving our potential electricians, plumbers etc a definite advantage when seeking apprenticeships.

The Skills for Life ethos is constantly moving and adapting to ensure we do everything we can to reach your children’s ambitions and I am very proud of our staff and senior management team who have embraced this wholeheartedly.

So, welcome to the Skills for Life Trust and I hope to meet you all at some time

Nikki King CBE
Chair of Trustees, Skills For Life Trust