School leavers lack basic work skills, CBI warns

The Independent is reporting that  a survey of business leaders that suggests school leavers lack the skills needed to succeed at work…

One in three business leaders is concerned at youngsters’ poor attitude to work, while more than half (52 per cent) are dissatisfied with school leavers’ communication skills, the seventh annual CBI/Pearson Education and Skills survey found.

Almost four out of 10 (38 per cent) firms expressed concern at school leavers’ basic numeracy, while half said young job seekers’ problem-solving skills were not good enough.

Almost six out of 10 firms warned that the skills gap was getting worse and they feared they would not be able to find enough skilled staff in the future. A quarter (28 per cent) of firms who need technicians qualified in science, technology, engineering or maths already report difficulty recruiting and a third (35 per cent) anticipate problems in the next three years

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “Businesses feel very strongly that the education system must better prepare young people for life outside the school gates, or risk wasting their talents.

“The journey from school towards the world of work can be daunting, so we must support schools and teachers to help develop the skills, character and attitudes students need to progress in life.”

…The survey of 291 companies employing nearly 1.5 million people found that almost two thirds (61 per cent) expressed concern at the lack of resilience and poor self-management of school leavers. By contrast, nearly all firms (96 per cent) were satisfied with young peoples’ IT abilities when they enter the workplace.

Firms called for primary schools to put more focus on literacy and numeracy (85 per cent) with around one third dissatisfied with these skills among school leavers. More than half (52 per cent) urged schools to develop a greater awareness of working life among teenagers. Companies are prepared to play their part with two thirds (66 per cent) willing to take on a larger role in the school careers system…

Four out of five employers warned that careers advice was simply not good enough to help young people make informed choices.

Nearly half of employers (44 per cent) have been forced to organise catch-up classes to tackle weaknesses in basic numeracy, literacy and IT for adult employees and more than a quarter (28 per cent) for young workers who have joined directly from school or college…

More at: School leavers lack basic work skills, CBI warns

Your reaction to this survey from the CBI? Are business leaders just being unrealistic in their expectations or do the results give cause for concern? Two-thirds of firms involved say they are prepared to take on a larger role in the school careers system – could or should they be doing more besides? Please let us know what you think in the comments or via Twitter…

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  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove The list is almost endless: cuts in funding for careers advice, a poor national attitude to numeracy and league table system

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Due to pressure for league table position, schools literally have to force a pass, so students have no idea of independence

  3. Chris1955

    The same thing is written every year since 1950 and invariably stresses that employers want basic skills, despite the Govian drive for more knowledge.

  4. Janet2

    @andylutwyche SchoolsImprove  CBI recognised this.  It said “An undue emphasis on GCSE grades (or equivalent) and school league tables risks distracting attention from the need to equip every young person adequately” with skills such as teamwork and problem solving.

  5. Janet2

    @andylutwyche SchoolsImprove CBI said careers education in schools not fit for purpose. Three-quarters of schools not fulfilling statutory obligation to give impartial careers advice, CBI said (quoting Ofsted).

  6. leftferret

    SchoolsImprove If CBI think that maybe they ought to train them — Education is not training — children are not work units

  7. chemtabulous

    SchoolsImprove why does the CBI think our job is to feed them pre-packed wageslaves? Our job is to pass on knowledge.

  8. bentleykarl

    SchoolsImprove rugby201 Businesses lack basic workforce training, expect schools to subsidise them you mean?

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