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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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School leavers lack necessary workplace skills


Whether school leavers obtain the A-Level results they hope for today or not, almost half of employers do not believe that they have the necessary skills to work in a business environment.

A survey of 2,000 micro-companies undertaken by the British Chambers of Commerce revealed that 47% would be ‘fairly’ or ‘very nervous’ of hiring such a candidate, while a mere 22% would be either ‘very’ or ‘fairly confident’. Only 36% were convinced that graduates had the right skills to offer either, however.
Adam Marshall, the BCC’s director of policy, said: “Micro firms make up an important part of our economy and the fact that over half [55%] want to increase staff numbers is good news. However, for those wanting to take on more staff, finding the right person for the job can prove difficult.”
The problem was not only “burdensome employment legislation”, but also the quality of applicants for vacant roles. “There is a real mismatch between business needs and local skills supply, with many businesses unable to find school leavers, or even graduates, with the right mix of skills,” Marshall added.
As a result, he called for the creation of a new skills system that could provide businesses with what they needed. “A courageous Government must recognise this and put more control in the hands of employers when it comes to training the nation,” Marshall said.
But Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, warned that the fact too many young people were not ready for the workplace created a “real danger” for the UK economy into the long-term.
“If school leavers are not able to compete effectively in the UK jobs market, then employers will not take the risk in employing them. If business confidence in young people drops even further and companies come to see young workers as a poor investment ill-suited to their needs, then tackling youth unemployment will be an impossible task,” he said.
As a result, it had been “very short-sighted” of the Coalition Government to axe the £203 million Connexions budget for youth career advice and to slash funding for one-to-one guidance in the mistaken belief that a cut-price, all-age careers service would be adequate, Green added.
Author Profile Picture
Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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