National Literacy Trust

Words for Work

Words for Work (WFW) is the National Literacy Trust's innovative speaking and listening project, which brings together secondary school pupils and business volunteers to explore the use of speaking and listening skills in the workplace and develop these skills via a series of creative workshops.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from to

Registered Charity in England and Wales (1116260)




  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment




Research has shown that speaking and listening are the literacy skills most used in the world of work, yet employers have expressed concerns regarding the poor communication skills of young people entering the workplace. With ineffective speaking and listening skills young people’s confidence and future employability are severely compromised, so it is essential that these skills are targeted before entering the workplace if young people are to lead successful careers.


At WFW sessions, pupils work through tasks with business volunteers that stimulate thought and discussion around communication and how good skills may be important for their future. Pupils are challenged to re-evaluate their communication methods, putting their speaking and listening skills into practice whilst gaining an insight into the world of work. Business volunteers act as positive role models and utilise the skills they have developed in their career to inspire and empower pupils.