It is not uncommon for businesses to express their frustration of young people lacking skills in the workplace.
Poor communication, resilience and team working were cited as the main reason why young people are unprepared for the world of work by 57% of employers in a recent Workforce Survey published by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).
The ‘Developing the Talents of the Next Generation’ report also revealed that a lack of focus on employability and enterprise in educational institutions (53%) and a lack of careers advice (46%) impacts on young people’s employment prospects.
Consequently Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce is fully supporting a number of national measures proposed by BCC to get educators and businesses to work together to help young people develop the life skills they need to succeed in the world of work. They are:
- Measuring schools on their pupils’ career destinations
- A guarantee of a business governor at every secondary school
- Promoting enterprise modules for all higher and further education students
- Universal ‘experience of work’ in all schools UK-wide to improve employment prospects
These policy recommendations on education and skills are taken from the BCC Manifesto ‘A Business Plan for Britain’, published ahead of the General Election which includes a wider set of recommendations from the business community, for any incoming government in 2015.
We recognise the importance of young people leaving school with functional numeracy and literacy skills, but employability should also be core to this too if we are to develop the future workforce.
Similarly, having a business governor or a similar role in place will enable schools to build healthy relationships with the local business community and understand the core skills needed by employers.
Exposure to the business environment through quality work experience before pupils leave education will also help greatly in preparing them for working life.
However employers must play their part by giving young people these insightful opportunities.
I also believe national campaigns such as the recent Careers Week are excellent ways where education providers can enable young people to connect with local employers or advisers and be inspired into a range of careers.
As a local Chamber we are keen to help schools engage and create those key relations with local businesses through our own calendar of events.
We cannot risk our young people being left trailing behind so let’s all work better to create a pipeline of talent, ready to become the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders of tomorrow.