Businesses and schools still worlds apart on readiness for work

By Anita Jaynes on 12 November, 2015

A national survey of over 3,500 business and education leaders by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) published on yesterday, November 11, 2015 has found that two-thirds of businesses (69%) believe that secondary schools are not effective at preparing young people for work.

The survey also found that most business people think schools should teach students how to conduct themselves in an interview (78%), and careers advice should include workplace experiences (64%).

With youth unemployment rates still stubbornly three times the overall unemployment rate, Chambers across the country are calling for action not just from ministers and schools – but also from businesses, more of whom need to work with local schools to plug skills gaps.

Commenting, Ian Larrard Director of Business West in Swindon and Wiltshire, said: “This national survey sheds new light on a fundamental issue here in the South West. Ask local firms what their main barrier to long term growth is and more likely than not they will cite the skills gap amongst young people.

“The future of our economy relies on a stream of work ready talent, and it is no secret that businesses believe that secondary schools need to do more to help young people transition into employment. However, we must also remember that this is a two way street and we need to see more businesses engage with schools.

“The work that we have been undertaking bringing together businesses with the UTC Swindon shows just how valuable this two way relationship is to students and their future prospects. There are many other examples of schools engaging with businesses, especially in our Further Education Colleges, but it should be replicated in all schools, even at a primary level.

“High youth unemployment and business skills gaps are a cause for national embarrassment. Unless ministers allow schools to increase their focus on preparing students for the working world and businesses step up and do more to engage, inform and inspire, we could fail an entire generation of young people.”

Pictured above: Ian Larrard Director of Business West in Swindon and Wiltshire