The Daily Mail reports that Michael Mercieca, a trusted guru on work as chief executive of Young Enterprise, argues the focus on exams means we may be failing the next generation. His organisation works with a quarter of a million students every year – almost two thirds of schools are involved – and Mercieca says it helps make up for failings in the formal curriculum.
‘Young people deserve better than they are getting,’ he declares with exasperation, calling for work skills to be put back on the National Curriculum. ‘I am dumbfounded how policy makers don’t get this.’
‘Congratulations to all the young people who received their A-level results, and the best of luck to those awaiting GCSE results. Young people should celebrate and be proud of their academic achievements. However, they should also be aware that exam results alone will not necessarily be enough to succeed in life. The education system must ensure that all young people across the country are prepared for the world of work.’
He points to a survey issued last month by the Confederation of British Industry which found that employers rate attitude and aptitude for work as more important than academic achievement when recruiting school and college leavers. And he cites a report from schools inspector Ofsted which found that only 10 per cent of the secondary schools it visited put enough emphasis on preparing students for the workplace.
Young Enterprise was set up in 1962 and runs programmes in schools for pupils of all ages from primary to sixth form, teaching them about the world of work, business and, for older students, what it means to be an entrepreneur.
Education Secretary Justine Greening hailed Young Enterprise as a ‘great organisation’ in her Conservative Party conference Speech last year. But Mercieca is not equally enthusiastic about the Government’s attitude to work and education.
Young Enterprise argues that the skills learnt are vital to the students’ future careers. A recent report from the CBI backs this up: ‘The transition from education to work needs focus if we are to minimise unemployment at this critical stage of life.’
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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