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Further progress on school and college leaver attainment requires radical new vision, says the CBI

June 22, 2012

The number of employers who are dissatisfied with school and college leavers’ basic skills remains stuck at around a third – the same as a decade ago – with 42% reporting that they have had to provide remedial training for school and college leavers.

The latest CBI / Pearson Education & Skills survey of 542 organisations, employing around 1.6 million people, reports that 61% of firms say school and college leavers have not developed the self-management skills they need for work while at school.

The survey also finds that as the UK competes ever more for business and talent in global markets, employers are looking to up-skill their workforces. Over the next three to five years, employers expect to need more people with leadership and management skills (a balance of +67%) and other higher skills (+61%), whereas for lower-skilled workers, they expect to slightly cut numbers (-3%).

While half of employers (a balance of +51%) are confident that they will fill their low-skilled vacancies, they are not confident of meeting their need for higher-skilled employees (-15%).

Employers recognise that they have an important role to play helping students and schools understand what skills are needed for working life. More than a third have increased their engagement with schools in the past year (+39%), while just 7% have reduced it, giving a balance of +32%.

One of the most important roles which half of all employers already carry out is providing careers advice (51%), but it’s clear that more work needs to be done in this area, with 68% saying that the general quality of advice is still not good enough. More than 60% of respondents say they would like to play a greater role in delivering careers advice.

In other areas, more than two thirds of employers (70%) provide work experience to students and around a third of employees (29%) act as governors. The survey found that some of the barriers to stepping up business involvement include insufficient guidance and support on how to make work experience placements worthwhile (26%), and onerous health and safety requirements (22%).

But, the survey finds that no one current qualification addresses the combination of literacy, numeracy and employability requirements effectively. While employers think that for numeracy, GCSE maths is the best qualification, they say that vocational qualifications best equip young people with the broader employability skills.

Read more at: http://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2012/06/further-progress-on-school-and-college-leaver-attainment-requires-radical-new-vision-cbi-pearson/

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