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Skills 4 has trained over 10,000 women and people from underrepresented groups in the last 18 years and our revolutionary Career Development Programmes are an integral part of our long-standing client organisations’ EDI strategies.

We specialise in STEM. Through collaboration with key clients, our programmes address the attraction, retention and progression of underrepresented groups in STEM, largely Construction and Engineering from over 150 organisations, including AtkinsRealis, Arcadis, Amey, Balfour Beatty, Bechtel and VolkerWessels.

Our programmes support individuals with their career progression while providing a safe space to share their experiences and network across the wider business. Skills 4 have supported organisations to progress, from developing female talent with our award-winning EMPOWER programme to expanding opportunities for wider underrepresented groups through our new THRIVE programme – designed along the same core principles as EMPOWER to support those too often disadvantaged simply for being different.

Our training improves proactive ownership, authenticity and confidence, enabling individuals to seek and achieve progression opportunities. The programme provides delegates with the tools, techniques and support needed to progress their careers. In 2023, within the first 3 months of training, 91% of participants credited the programme for supporting career progression leading to promotion or greater responsibility.

During the training programme, delegates are put into smaller ‘Growth Groups’ who they collaborate with, share experiences with, and support each other on their journeys. Our Growth Groups have proven to be hugely successful with many groups continuing to stay in touch years after completing the programme. Several of our clients have well-established employee networks, ranging from Mental Health and Wellbeing, LGBTQ+, Disabilities, Neurodiversity, Multi-Cultural networks and their allies. We promote these networks during our training sessions and encourage delegates to join, whilst simultaneously highlighting the benefits and support that is available. We are often asked to speak at events being held by the networks or attend focus group activities to facilitate the further enhancement of these networks within the organisations.

Since our inception, we’ve emphasised the need for continued learning through connecting and sharing individual journeys. With this objective in mind, we launched the Alumni programme. This gives delegates past and present access to a network where they can share best practices, stay connected with mentors, and build a community where we can continue to share our work on diversity and inclusion.

The Alumni facilitates quarterly events and invites speakers from within the sector. We have also seen networks grow within client companies when delegates return to their workplace.
In addition to addressing personal barriers to career progression, the programme also examines perceived organisational barriers.

Research shows the more diverse your leadership and your teams are, the more inclusive your culture becomes and with this, innovation increases. Therefore, we created a ‘Moving the Dial’ Report which analyses performance against eight criteria known to affect the retention and progression of underrepresented people. In addition to valuable feedback from delegates, we also undertake and share benchmarking which helps organisations to understand where they are on their Inclusion journey and how they compare to their peers.