The Dissemination of Speak-Write Research and Materials

Employability & Enterprise, Literacy & Writing skills

Brief description

The Speak-Write Programme creates research-based teaching resources to develop advanced communication skills in higher education and business.


The Speak-Write Project was established in 1997as a response to a concern voiced widely by academics and employers that standards of oral and written English were in decline. The project team piloted a range of creative and innovative teaching techniques and materials designed to improve the communication skills of undergraduates in English departments. The materials are published in the form of four books and have been adopted by a number of university departments.

Project design

The funded project was primarily concerned with enhancing the dissemination, consultancy and support for the Speak-Write materials and the research which underpins them.

Key findings

The research report focusses on humanities graduates in writing-intensive professions, and investigates the types of writing that are undertaken and the support available in the workplace. Based on interviews with 26 individuals in 10 writing-intensive professions, the report highlights the sheer quantity of writing undertaken, the writing skills employed and the forms of writing produced. The report also includes information based on interviews with employers on their views of the perceived usefulness of humanities degree. The report will be useful to anyone thinking about how their students will apply their writing skills beyond university.

Learning outcomes

The survey found that many recent graduates are unable to articulate or are even unaware of the transferable skills they refined at university which are essential to their professional lives. The report recommends that students are encouraged to reflect upon the aptitudes they have developed in HE and their relationship to the workplace. It also highlights the need for institutions and departments to implement consistent policies on teaching grammar aimed at improving student performance. Tory Young is able to provide a consultancy service giving presentations and symposia for departments and tailoring Speak-Write materials to suit existing curricula.


Project Leader

Dr Tory Young
Department of English, Communication, Film and Media
Anglia Poytechnic University

Project partner/s

Richard Kerridge, BSUC

Research period

January 2002 – June 2003