TES article





Huffington Post article on Facework


































Under strict embargo until Tuesday 24 November 2015


 Excluded pupils co-develop new employability resource to equip young people with the life skills to face work.

 Facework, a new employability resource co-designed by students in five Pupil Referral Units across the country, is launched today at the Youth Employment Convention to help ‘pushed out’ young people face work. Developed by Inclusion Trust in partnership with Stephen Carrick Davies and funded by social investor Nominet Trust, Facework intends to transform conventional careers counselling for this group and equip young people with the life skills to find and face work. The Facework method works by helping young people to reflect on their own experiences and attitudes to employment, and learn through teaching their peers.

Facework challenges ‘pushed-out’[1] young people to radically ‘flip their thinking’ about the attitudes needed to thrive in today’s world of work via videos, social media, quizzes and 25 unique employability challenges.

Facework is the result of over 30 in-depth sessions with a core group of 70 students across five different Pupil Referral Units and based on the principle of “teach once, learn twice”. Rather than imparting information about how to get a job, the intensive engagement with young people highlighted that the employment education is better when focused on helping students understand the attitudes needed in work, and then teaching others through short videos and specific ‘Challenges.’ It is this process, which helps uncover real-world scenarios, and language that in turn helps demystify the theory of how to get into the world of work. It was this process that led to identifying 25 employment intelligences which are grouped into five easy to remember STEPS: Self-Management, Team Work, Enterprise, Problem Solving and Speaking & Listening.  

“Today, good quality, independent careers guidance is absent in many schools. Whilst there is a wealth of websites, good careers provision is more than just information; young people need face-to-face guidance, counselling and most of all, a chance to be heard and explore what attitudes and qualities employers actually want,” says Stephen Carrick-Davies, the Director of the Facework project. Having worked with students and staff in Pupil Referral Units for many years he argues that whilst qualifications are important, many ‘pushed-out’ young people desperately need help in understanding the soft skills, and attitudes increasingly vital to make good transitions from school to work.

Carrick-Davies argues that the measuring of progress through the narrow focus of exams and league tables fails to recognize that many young people grow up in challenging circumstances mastering impressive skills in managing to protect themselves from harm, to be resilient and learn how to be a young carer. Self-recognition and further development of these skills which are valued in the work place help young people to make good transitions from school to work, instead many ‘pushed out ‘ learners become labeled as failures. He continues, “As an employer myself, I have always believed that it was vital to recruit for attitude, and train for skills. However many young people simply do not have an up to date attitude ‘tool-kit’ with them when they leave school, and are ill equipped to work with others as they enter the harsh reality of today’s work place.”

Maggie Kalnins the CEO of Inclusion Trust says, “The paradox is that teachers are driven by a wider moral purpose to develop their students to become informed, confident and well-rounded adults who can be leaders and team players. Yet very little time is dedicated to developing a structured vocational pedagogy to support this.” She goes on, “Facework give teachers the tools to create engaging, authentic and deep learning experiences that will help their students recognise and develop ‘employment intelligences’ – the soft skills, behaviours and attributes needed to navigate adulthood and the work environment.”

Vicki Hearn, Director, Nominet Trust, says; “The transition from school to work can be particularly daunting for young people in PRU settings.  Inclusion Trust’s vision of an online platform to support these young people in developing employability skills encouraged Nominet Trust to provide grant funding for Facework in 2013.  This ambitious project has encountered and overcome many challenges in its delivery, so we are delighted that Facework’s range of online resources is now being launched. Co-design with young people, teaching staff and employers has been central to the development of these resources, as has the specialist knowledge of Stephen Carrick-Davies and the Inclusion Trust team, so we are confident that they will provide critical support to ‘pushed out’ young people so that they are better equipped to move into employment.”  

Facework has also been supported by exam board OCR who recognise its importance not just to those working in the Alternative Education sector, but for all schools. Ruth Carter OCR’s Employability, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Sector Specialist has worked with Carrick-Davies on cross referencing the Facework Employability Intelligences to OCR’s ‘Life & Living’ and ‘Employability’ accreditation. Schools will have the opportunity to use any of the 25 Facework Challenge resources in either stand-alone teaching sessions or as a whole to gain a formal accreditation. Ruth says, “OCR supports these exceptional Facework resources, because they are engaging activities, full of meaning, are thought provoking, have real authenticity and as such have power to help transform learning.” 





Press contact

Stephen Carrick-Davies

0771 245 1859 + stephen<at>



Notes to Editors

About FaceWork

Through the Facework website the project team aim to further inspire students in their learning by getting them to share their wisdom and what they have “Flipped.” One such young person is Jack Burt, who contributed to the project and travelled with the team from one Alternative Education setting in London to then teach students in a Bedford PRU he explains, “School never slows down for you and you never appreciate how valuable these skills are until you’re out of there. I only began to understand this when I was thrown in the deep end and had to share my insights with other students in another school. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know everything, I knew enough to make it real and the other students got it.”


Jack Burt one of the Facework students.

Jack is just one of 15 other YP who have shared their insights through film on the site but more stories are being captured. Indeed, far from a finished product the Facework project launching today is work in progress. Whilst focussed primarily on teachers working within Alternative Provision, the vision is to inspire all teachers to model what has worked, and by using the free Facework resources (scratch cards, challenges, quizzes etc) to better engage their students in understanding the attitudes, which employers say they want. “We want to test out a very simple theory of change” says Carrick-Davies, “namely that it is when students are bold enough to help their peers and share their insights publically that they reflect on what they know and understand and get a chance to learn, unlearn and re-learn privately. It is only when they are challenged by their peers that they can begin to flip their thinking and engage in deep reflection about their attitudes and behaviours and have something unique to offer and indeed find their true value and right career pathway.” He concludes, “The competences that young people can develop as they face work may be more complex to codify, categorise and assess and but surely we should be measuring what is of value, not just what is easy!”  


About the Inclusion Trust

Inclusion Trust is a charity that exists to develop alternative models of learning, which help ‘pushed out’ young people to grow, learn and achieve. The trust has adopted the term ‘pushed out’ to provoke a debate amongst practitioners that will focus on the weaknesses in our education systems rather than the ‘abnormality’ of the individual child.

Inclusion Trust projects include Notschool, an online Alternative Provision service which has reached over 10,000 marginalised young people since 2000 and was recognised in 2007 by the OECD as a new model of learning. Facework, is the most recent pilot research and development project, supported by the Nominet Trust, which seeks to transform Work Related Learning and Careers Education for ‘pushed out’ learners.

Maggie Kalnins became Chief Executive of Inclusion Trust after an extensive career as a science teacher, Headteacher and governor within complex urban secondary schools serving the most deprived communities. With a strong understanding of the distinctive challenges that many young people face, Maggie has a clear view of how education can be designed to give all students a real chance to succeed well beyond the highest of expectations.


About Stephen Carrick-Davies

Stephen is a social entrepreneur and previous CEO in an international non-profit organisation. At the same time as developing the Facework project with the Inclusion Trust he ran the Hill Station – a successful community hub and café in South London which employs young people. As such he has first-hand experience of employment issues as well as considerable experience of working with Pushed-Out young people. See for further details.


About Nominet Trust

Nominet Trust is the UK’s only dedicated Tech for Good funder. The Trust believes in harnessing the power of digital technology to improve lives and communities.

A UK registered charity, Nominet Trust brings together, invests in and supports people committed to using digital technology to create social and economic value. Nominet Trust has invested in hundreds of projects since its inception, providing business support as well as financial investment, seeking to connect projects to prospective partners who can help increase their reach and impact.

Nominet Trust was founded in 2008 by Nominet, the not-for-profit organisation responsible for the smooth and secure running of the .uk Internet infrastructure. Nominet believes in the positive power of the internet, and with the money generated from the registration of web addresses ending in .uk,, and, Nominet is proud to be able to fund Nominet Trust’s work.


[1]The term ‘pushed out’ (adopted from the work of Professor Eve Tuck at the State University of New York) shifts the focus from a label of failure of the YP, to what the system can do to these YP. Most of the contributors to the Facework programme have been from those pushed out of mainstream school and taught in PRUS and other Alternative Education providers.

Here is an ed-op piece  we wrote on what we learnt as we developed Facework.

Here too is a link to the powerpoint presentation which we presented at the Youth Employment Convention 2015



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