Saturday, 13 July 2024
UK Charity Week 2024 - Sponsored by Sinclair Method UK
Saturday, 13 July 2024

UKSA’s ‘Skills for Life’ framework yields growth in youth development in 2023

As the year comes to an end, UKSA is reporting almost 70 per cent improvements across its ‘Skills for Life’ framework for schools and group visits in 2023. 

The Isle of Wight based charity which provides life-enhancing water-based adventures, education, and world-leading maritime training is passionate about removing barriers and provides funding for children and young people who wouldn’t be able to access such an experience without financial support.

UKSA has six ‘Skills for Life’: communication, decision-making, teamwork, self-belief, determination and resilience, all deemed essential in a child’s overall personal development. Its activities for residential school group visits are mapped to its ‘Skills for Life’ framework. It then works with schools to share the outcomes achieved and insights gathered in order to measure the impact of the experience on students’ personal development. Part of the experience at a UKSA residential is being able to find out about the potential career options in the watersports and maritime sectors.

The skills are measured at the end of students’ stay with UKSA’s most recent results demonstrating that 75 per cent improved their self-belief, 75 per cent saw an improvement in their participation, 73 per cent were more determined than when they started, 67 per cent are more resilient, 63 per cent have improved their decision making and 62 per cent felt their communication had improved.

To measure the experience and six skills, the children and young people are presented with statements in a fun format for them to agree or disagree with, these include ‘I am better at making choices’, ‘I feel more confident’, ‘I feel I am more brave to finish difficult tasks’, ‘I feel like I can bounce back when things are hard’, ‘ I am better at making choices’ and ‘I find it easier to talk and share my thoughts’.

Ben Willows, CEO at UKSA said:

“Our programmes provide an opportunity for young people to have fun, be adventurous, learn new practical skills and understand the opportunities in the maritime industry. We also enable participants to try new activities which push them out of their comfort zone in a safe and supportive environment. It’s great to see such improvement with our Skills for Life data and it further supports that we are on the right path to making a difference to those who visit us and making a lifelong impact on their future.

“For many children, without funding from UKSA for these trips, they simply would not have the opportunity for an experience like this. We are incredibly grateful to our donors for helping to facilitate these trips. However, demand for funding continues to increase as families are hit with the increased cost of living and we need more help to make a difference to more children.”

David Stephens, class teacher at St George’s School on the Isle of Wight which visited earlier in 2023 said:

“When we came back to school, we held discussions about our time at UKSA and you could immediately see the confidence growth in the students. Different leaders came to the surface, people who are normally confident requiring more guidance during our visit, and those who are less confident coming out of their shells. One particularly shy student took the lead in supporting an upset student and helping them through their experience which was really great to see. Resilience and perseverance are key at our school, but UKSA was brilliant for reaffirming that ethos. It improved from Monday through to Friday with some not wanting to go on the boats during the first few days but being very comfortable by the end of the week and overcoming those struggles.”

The data is derived from the responses of 2,934 children and young people from 67 schools and group visits between April and September of 2023 with ages ranging from eight to 19.

To find out more about UKSA and the Skills for Life framework, or if you are interested in providing funding towards the schools and group visits, please visit:


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