Playing our part: Words for Work

This month we participated in the National Literacy Trust's flagship literacy and employability programme, Words for Work: DreamBig, which gives young people from disadvantaged communities the literacy and communication skills they need to reach their potential.

Published by Hamish Kerry

This month we participated in the National Literacy Trust’s ‘Words for Work: DreamBig’ programme. The programme is an exciting opportunity that saw us engage with a local primary school in the North East to help improve students understanding of STEM careers within the region and give them an insight into the career opportunities that they can have in software design and development.

Research shows that young people entering the workplace lack the speaking and listening skills they need to communicate successfully, by participating in the National Literacy Trust’s Words for Work: DreamBig programme, we’re helping do our bit to bridge the gap early on in the student’s professional development.

A recent TES poll found that:

  • 97% of teachers said that introducing children to the workplace could be very influential in broadening aspirations and bringing learning to life.
  • 68% of primary school teachers say children should start learning about the world of work by the age of 7.
  • Education and Employers (2018) have found that gender stereotypes exist from age 7 and can impact children’s understanding of what careers they should choose.

The programme is an excellent opportunity to engage students in a Q&A based session where they can freely discuss their ambitions, and learn about how their skills can be applied to a career in STEM. We selected 3 volunteers from Arch across the design, development and marketing teams to take part and give a broad insight into the pathways they took to get into their roles, and how foundational skills built at school helped them get there.

The Words for Work: DreamBig programme is run in 3 stages:

Digital workplace visit

A class meets business volunteers and takes part in a digital tour of a workplace. Through a live Q&A, they practise language and literacy, interact with people from the business world and learn about a variety of roles. This was our opportunity to meet the kids, and share with them all of the exciting things we get up to day-to-day in our roles at Arch.

Dream Big box

After the workplace visit, teacher-led follow-up sessions are conducted. Schools receive a great collection of books, props and accompanying resources to build six businesses in their classrooms that help increase engagement and improve students confidence in STEM-related subjects.

Achievement Celebration

Following the completion of the programme, students, teachers, parents and volunteers are able to come together to celebrate the achievements of the students and reflect on their newfound understanding of STEM careers in the region.

“The kids were really engaged and loved the afternoon! We'll be engaging again in the NLT programme as it develops further in the region, marking ourselves as an ally for helping kids of all ages get excited about the possibility of careers in the North East tech sector.”

- Hamish Kerry, Marketing Executive at Arch

The programme has been incredibly rewarding for both the students and our team members. The NLT is running the programme throughout 2021. If you’re keen to get involved, drop us an email at and we’ll pop you through a referral to the Programme Manager.


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