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UK skills taxonomy - survey participant information leaflet

Participant Information Leaflet for Survey Participants

Study Title:

A Skills Taxonomy for the UK – Phase 1

Senior Investigators:

Professors Peter Elias (IER, University of Warwick) and Andy Dickerson (University of Sheffield), Mr Neil Bachelor (Omnifolio CIC)


You are invited to take part in a research study. Before you decide, you need to know why the research is being done and what it would involve for you. Please take the time to read the following information carefully. Talk to others about the study if you wish. Please ask us if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information. Take time to decide whether you wish to take part.

A downloadable PDF version of this this leaflet is also available here: Skills Taxonomy - Participant Information Leaflet 20230728 Link opens in a new window

A downloadable PDF of the previous version of this this leaflet is available here: Skills Taxonomy - Participant Information Leaflet Link opens in a new window

A downloadable PDF version of the full online survey is also available here: Developing a National Skills Taxonomy - surveyLink opens in a new window

A downloadable Word version of the full online survey is also available here: Developing a National Skills Taxonomy survey

Who is organising and funding the study?

The Department for Education for England has commissioned this study.

What is the study about?

This research is the first stage of an investigation into the needs that organisations and individuals may have for information on employment-related skills and the ways in which they comprehend and make use of such information. The results from this enquiry will assist in the development of a work programme (Phase 2) that will provide a national classification of skills, linked to occupations and qualifications. The work programme will:

  • provide a conceptual understanding of the skills associated with jobs and a framework for classification based on these concepts.
  • Create a taxonomy of skills.
  • Link those skills to occupations and underpinning training/education needs.

What would taking part involve?

If you are happy to take part after reading this information sheet, please fill in the consent questions on the webpage

and then proceed to the survey questions (you will only be able to proceed to the survey if you have given consent to participate). The number of questions you will be asked will depend according to how your organisation sources and processes skills data, but we estimate that it will take between 10-30 minutes to complete. Once you have finished the survey, please press submit.

What information will you be requested to provide?

The survey asks questions about how your organisation may use the concept of ‘skill’, the understanding and interpretation of this concept, and the relevant sources of information that your organisation may have drawn upon to assist with the ways in which the concept of skill has been defined and operationalised. You will not be requested to provide any information of a personal or sensitive nature, apart from your contact details.

We ask that you provide responses that reflect the priorities and needs of your organisation rather than your personal views and encourage you to consult with colleagues as you complete the survey to support this as needed.

What are the possible benefits of taking part in this study?

The UK does not have an officially recognised classification of employment-related skills. Those organisations that make use of such information (e.g., careers services, employment agencies, labour market analysts, employers recruiting workers) currently have devised their own ways of organising and classifying information on skills. The aim of the study is to provide a common approach that all stakeholders will find useful, providing benefits in terms of efficiency and the sharing of information across these groups of stakeholders.

What are the possible disadvantages, side effects or risks, of taking part in this study?

There are no anticipated risks to you as a research participant.

Expenses and payments

You will not receive any expenses or payments for taking part in the survey.

Will my taking part be kept confidential?

Yes. We will follow strict ethical and legal practice and all information that you provide will be handled in confidence. Respondents’ names and email addresses will be given a pseudonym or sequence number for the purposes of reporting, and any information potentially identifying individuals will be removed from the resulting dataset. Only the researchers will have access to the data. Data will be transferred outside of the University of Warwick to the named senior researchers at the University of Sheffield and Omnifolio CIC. The University of Warwick has established a data sharing agreement with these two organisations that binds them to these same conditions regarding confidentiality and use of the data. The information you provide about your organisation will also be shared with colleagues in Unit for Future Skills at the Department for Education who commissioned this study. If you have any concerns about this or do not want to share your information with the Unit for Future Skills, please get in touch with Peter Elias via the details given below before 15 September 2023.

Where appropriate the report arising from the survey may identify specific organisations when discussing the needs for a classification of skills. Prior to the release of information that identifies an organisation, that organisation will be consulted to obtain its agreement.

Direct quotes from open questions may be used in the report but these will not identify you in any way.

What will happen to the data collected about me?

As a publicly funded organisation, we have to ensure that it is in the public interest when we use information from people who have agreed to take part in research. This means that when you agree to take part in a research study, such as this, we will use your data in the ways needed to conduct and analyse the research study.

We will be using information from you to undertake this study and will act as the data controller for this study. We are committed to protecting the rights of individuals in line with data protection legislation.

Data Sharing

We will share all pseudonymised data with named researchers at our partner organisations, (University of Sheffield and Omnifolio CIC), for the purposes of analysis.

Your rights to access, change or move your information are limited, as we need to manage your information in specific ways for the research to be reliable and accurate. The University of Warwick has in place policies and procedures to keep your data safe.

This data may also be used for future research following review and approval by an independent Research Ethics Committee and subject to your consent at the outset of this research project.

Please refer to the University of Warwick Research Privacy Notice which is available here: or by contacting the Information and Data Compliance Team at

What will happen if I don’t want to carry on being part of the study?

Participation is entirely voluntary, and you have the right to modify or withdraw your responses by notifying us up to two weeks after survey submission. If you wish to withdraw the information you have provided, you should contact the principal investigator for this study (Professor Peter Elias,, putting your request in writing.

What will happen to the results of the study?

The results of the study will be published in a final report, and a peer-reviewed article will be prepared for publication in an academic journal. It is anticipated that the final report will be made available to all participants. Although the Department for Education is responsible for the publication of the final report, we would anticipate that all participants will be able to view a copy online.

Who has reviewed the study?

This study has been reviewed and given favourable opinion by the University of Warwick’s Humanities and Social Science Research Ethics Committee (HSSREC), reference number HSSREC 158/22-23.

Who should I contact if I want further information?

If you have any questions about any aspect of the study, or your participation in it, not answered by this participant information sheet, please contact:

If you wish to speak to the DfE about this project, please contact:

Who should I contact if I wish to make a complaint?

Any complaint about the way you have been dealt with during the study or any possible harm you might have suffered will be addressed. Please address your complaint to the person below, who is a senior University of Warwick official entirely independent of this study:

Head of Research Governance

Research & Impact Services

University House

University of Warwick




Tel: 024 76 575733

If you wish to raise a complaint on how we have handled your personal data, you can contact our Data Protection Officer who will investigate the matter:

If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are processing your personal data in a way that is not lawful you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Thank you for taking the time to read this Participant Information Leaflet