Education and Skills

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Education and Skills

We harness the power of education to drive opportunity for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.


One in five children leave primary school without reaching the level of reading they need to do well at secondary school – a figure that rises to one in three of our poorest children1. Poor literacy skills hold people back. It also comes at a huge cost to the UK economy – improving pre-school language skills could provide a boost of £1.2bn2.

Our long-standing support for action on literacy continues to gather momentum. We're bringing businesses together on this critical issue and running innovative outreach programmes, to mitigate against the negative impact of COVID-19 on young people's enjoyment of reading and literacy skills.

Improving pre-school language skills could boost economy by / £1.2bn2 Pro Bono Economics, July 2021
Vision for Literacy Business Pledge signatories / 83 businesses 2021
Books pledged to primary schools / 62,000 Donations will be made in 2022

1) Nicky Morgan: improving child literacy in England (speech)
2) Pro Bono Economics, July 2021, Improving pre-school language skills could boost economy by £1.2bn

Marcus Rashford Book Club

COVID-19 has widened the literacy gap for children living in poverty. As we emerge from the pandemic we want to continue to support children’s literacy, which we know is an important building block for social mobility.

So, we are excited to share that KPMG is joining forces with the National Literacy Trust and the Marcus Rashford Book Club to donate 62,000 books in 2022.

The books will be donated to primary schools in National Literacy Trust Hubs that serve as place-based responses to entrenched, intergenerational low literacy levels, as well as to KPMG partner schools that lie in pockets of low social mobility.

Reading the future

In 2020, our flagship project in support of the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge was Reading the Future – a campaign with the National Literacy Trust providing Instant Libraries to 150 schools in areas with the worst social mobility outcomes.

KPMG's Reading the Future campaign will play an important role in mitigating risk by helping 22,500 disadvantaged children across the UK unlock a love of reading that can help them flourish at school and provide comfort during this uncertain time. By gifting Instant Libraries to 150 primary schools that need them most, alongside incredible virtual storytelling from the firm's volunteers and leading children's authors, KPMG is helping to combat the potential long-term impact that school closures will have on disadvantaged children's life chances if their literacy ability falls even further behind that of their peers.

Jonathan Douglas CBE / Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust

Vision for Literacy Business Pledge

Through our role as lead business signatory for the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge, we champion much needed change. Established in 2015, 83 leading businesses in 2021 publicly committed to help close the nation's literacy gap and boost social mobility. With COVID-19 having a significant impact on the literacy of disadvantaged students, our collective role is now more important than ever.

Reading the Future offers a virtual reading programme supported by author ambassadors and our volunteers, and participating schools benefit from free National Literacy Trust membership, to further develop their literacy provision. We also launched a campaign to increase the diversity of bookshelves in early years settings in conjunction with Little Box of Books.


We have been a corporate partner of global education charity 'Innovations for Learning' since 2018 on their TutorMate programme. The TutorMate programme sees cohorts of KPMG colleagues across our UK offices volunteer their time to offer weekly support to 5-6 year old students with their reading and literacy skills via a specially designed virtual platform. Six cohorts of 10 volunteers are currently supporting students from primary schools in Bradford and Middlesbrough social mobility coldspots.


We're committed to driving numeracy action. With nearly half the working-age population having the numeracy skills of a primary school child1, we know more needs to be done to help them to fulfil their potential. By engaging our people, our supply chain and the wider business community, we are tackling the impact of poor numeracy and supporting the UK economy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Total value of wage differentials due to low numeracy2 / £25.2 billion per year Pro Bono Economics, April 2021
Adults registered for the National Numeracy Challenge / > 366,000 2018-2021
Numeracy in the News downloads / > 20,000 2020-2021

1) National Numeracy: A new approach to making the UK numerate
2) Pro Bono Economics, April 2021, Counting on the recovery: The role for numeracy skills in ‘levelling up’ the UK

National Numeracy Day

We were the founding supporter of National Numeracy Day in 2018, a campaign that raises awareness of the importance of numeracy in everyday life and helps people feel confident with numbers. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the fourth National Numeracy Day took place as a virtual festival on 19 May 2021. The day saw more than 86,000 people take steps to improve their numeracy.

Featuring contributions from TV presenter and mathematician, Rachel Riley; mathematician, teacher and writer Bobby Seagull; and money expert, Martin Lewis, the campaign garnered support from 2,810 organisations including Amazon, Experian and Santander.

Our volunteers supported thousands of students across 70 schools in disadvantaged areas through 'Numeracy at Work' panels. We are also supporting National Numeracy as a Founding Member of the National Numeracy Leadership Council, which will bring together committed businesses to take further action on poor numeracy skills.

Numeracy in the News

In collaboration with The Economist Education Foundation and with the support of our volunteers, we launched the Numeracy in the News programme, which helps young people make sense of the world using numeracy and to develop key critical thinking skills.

By analysing data and statistics, students learn how numbers are applied in the real world and how journalists use them to bring news stories to life. Our in-person and virtual events combined reached almost 230,000 students and our online resources saw over 20,000 downloads from teachers and students across the UK.

The Royal Institution: Maths Masterclasses

The Royal Institution (Ri) is an independent charity whose vision is to inspire young people to think more deeply about science and its place in our lives. Their Christmas Lectures, which saw mathematician Dr Hannah Fry bring the hidden power of maths to life, captivated millions of viewers, and we were proud to offer students from our partner schools the opportunity to watch the screenings from our London and Birmingham offices.

As a follow up to the lectures, we have launched our Maths Masterclass series with the Ri, which will be delivered to primary schools across the UK. The masterclasses aim to increase young people's engagement and confidence in working with numbers by exploring engaging and inspirational maths problems.

National Numeracy Day

Lifelong learning

Recognising that the world of work will constantly change, we complement our action on literacy and numeracy with transferable skills development. We help to equip young people to become lifelong learners and to build the skills they need to move into, and between, jobs.

Since 2013, WorkReady has supported / > 16,000 students 2013-2021
Cloud Curious Challenge participants / 10,000 young people Nov 2021
Partners and Directors matched with school leaders / 30 2021


In collaboration with The Talent Foundry and delivered exclusively in social mobility coldspots, Opportunity Areas and areas of high deprivation, our flagship employability programme, WorkReady, educates thousands of students about the changing world of work through developing their digital literacy and green skills.

Using the Skills Builder framework, the programme opens their eyes to the importance of digital fluency, adaptability and transferable skills - such as creativity and problem solving – whilst developing solutions to environmental issues faced by businesses and their clients today. We are also trialling the use of this framework with our own Level 3 Business Administration apprentices – which makes us a Skills Builder Trailblazer company.

Green Skills for Life

The Net Zero economy is going to bring about an unprecedented demand for ‘green skills.’ Ensuring that the green jobs revolution is fair and inclusive is at the heart of the firm’s education volunteering programme. This year, we’re working with schools in areas of low social mobility to build students’ ‘sustainability mindset’ and help prepare and excite them for the changing world of work. Workshops span primary and secondary: they’re fun and interactive and no environmental knowledge is required.

Programmes include ‘WorkReady’ with The Talent Foundry where students tackle an environmental business brief and pitch their sustainability ideas, ‘Climate Champions’ in conjunction with Hubbub which encourages students to take positive climate action in their local area and ‘Topical Talks’ with The Economist Education Foundation where students and colleagues debate environmental issues via a bespoke online platform.

The Cloud

In November 2021, we launched the ‘KPMG Cloud Curious Challenge’, which set a new Guinness World Record for the most views on a cloud technology lesson in 24 hours. We all use the cloud every day but could we explain what it actually is? KPMG cloud engineers developed a cloud technology tutorial which was completed by over 10,000 young people in social mobility coldspot areas including greater Manchester, Bradford and the Black Country. Participating schools are invited to access KPMG’s Tech Playground which includes a playlist of coding lessons, virtual coding ‘playgrounds’ and links to sign up to KPMG tech mentoring.


To build the skills of the future within our communities, across a three-month period in 2020, our Cloud Engineer team delivered an online coding course to students from our partner secondary schools. In total, they delivered over 40 hours of online training, reaching 17,000 viewers in over 30 countries around the world.

We've also supported our own people to build skills of the future. At our 2020 all firm virtual event, nearly 3,000 colleagues took part in a fundraiser online coding lesson, which as well as enabling them to develop new skills, saw them break a Guinness World Record for the largest number of people to take part in an online programming lesson in 24 hours.

Skills Builder

Throughout 2021, we've worked in conjunction with the Skills Builder Partnership on a virtual volunteering programme to create sustainable, skills-led, employer-school engagement. The programme included the delivery of 23 remote volunteering pilot sessions, which reached over 600 students, as well as the sponsorship of the Skills Builder Accelerator programme in five schools in the Black Country area, reaching 2,312 pupils and 85 teachers.

Inspiring Partnerships Programme

Organised by not-for-profit social enterprise Inspiration for All, the Inspiring Partners programme matches school leaders with business leaders, in a nine-month mentoring partnership, designed to empower and support the development of leadership skills and confidence. 30 of our own Partners and Directors have been matched with school leaders, to support them in developing their leadership excellence.

Coding in the community