Developing life skills

YST Developing life skills
Our work uses the power of sport and play to help young people develop attributes like teamwork and resilience, leadership and communication skills which will help them to thrive in other areas of their lives.

Two-in-five businesses are not satisfied with the aptitude and readiness for work of young applicants (44%) and broader skills such as communicating and problem-solving.

Programme: Game of Our Own

We deliver Game of Our Own in partnership with the FA, which funds the work as part of its strategy for women and girls’ football.

We focus on introducing more girls to football by teaching leadership skills, which the girls can then apply back in their schools to engage their peers. It also supports schools and teachers to have a better understanding of barriers to participation and how to engage girls.

The programme trains girls as activators who are supported to lead and deliver the programme in their school. Its impact goes much wider than football with many school leads stating that it has led to an increase in confidence and volunteering.


  • 5,537 girls enabled to take part in football activities, 48% of whom had not played football before
  • 95% of Football Activators developed life skills and 90% increased confidence through the programme

  • 91% of schools saw increased student leadership within their school and 77% reported an increase in volunteering.

Case study: Southfield School, Kettering, Northamptonshire

Girls’ football was added to the PE timetable after the Head of Sport Development and a PE teacher attended Game of Our Own training. We provided them with training and resources for delivering girls’ football lessons in curriculum that focus on character skill development as the learning outcome. Four pupils then attended a one-day Game of Our Own camp where they were trained to become Football Activators who recruited other girls in school to join a girl’s football club.

The teacher leading the project said: “Game of Our Own has given a set of skills to girls and staff in how football is delivered to make it more attractive.”

Girls who took part in the new club reflected an increase in confidence from taking part in girls’ football as well as a boost in teamwork and social skills. They also related the life skills in the football club to their school subjects. One said: “We can learn how to play as a team and communicate. With football you have to earn your goal, like in school subjects."

Rachel Yankey, former England international footballer, said: “Projects like Game of Our Own help develop different skills which could be crucial in girls’ futures — there is so much you can learn from sport that can help you in the wider world. Providing the right environment is key, especially for those who have never played the game before and I have witnessed first-hand how this initiative is helping to improve that.”

Product: Youth Sport Award

We created the Youth Sport Award to support and inspire young people to develop their leadership skills through physical activity and sport. More than 1,000 young people have completed the award which rewards them for collecting and evidencing the skills they build through their experiences in and around sport. It encourages the types of skills, attitudes and behaviours that employers and educational institutions are looking for in applicants. An evaluation of the award scheme found that participation in it led to an increase in rates of volunteering among those taking part, as well as boosting confidence, raising participation in physical activity and improving attitudes to their health and wellbeing.

Our Impact

The following findings were presented as part of our 2018 Impact Report - published in February 2019. A full version of the report is available for download on this page.
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Improving mental and physical wellbeing

Tackling the decline in young people’s wellbeing through sport and play is central to our Believing in Every Child’s Future strategy.
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Promoting healthy and active lifestyles

YST delivers high-quality and inclusive competitive sport to young people in 20,851 schools through the School Games, while our Hub Schools provide a nontraditional sporting offer tailored to targeted groups of young people disengaged from sport and physical activity.
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Boosting levels of attainment and achievement

Research shows a positive association between participation in physical activity and young people’s academic performance - as discussed during Professor John Ratey's keynote speech at the YST 2018 Annual Conference.
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Building connections between young people

Evaluation of our work shows that giving young people the opportunity to take part in sport can help provide a sense of belonging and the opportunity to make new friends.
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Enhancing support networks

Families, teachers, coaches, friends and peers all have a signifcant part to play in giving a young person the best start in life. A huge focus of our work is on enhancing these support networks to give them the best opportunity to make a positive impact on young people’s lives.
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