Next generation workforce lacking basic skills

The Forum of Private Business has warned that schools must do more to make youngsters more attractive to future employers.

‘Employers are the number one consumer of the products of education, and they are rejecting school leavers because their standards are too low,’ says FPB senior policy advisor Alex Jackman. ‘We are not referring to standards of academic education in this instance, but the more basic work skills all new starters should at that point in their lives already have drilled in to them.’

Fundamental traits such as punctuality, being able to deal with difficult customers and answering the phone politely, are pointed to as being problematic for many youths. Adds Jackman, 
’We believe, and so do our members, that schools should be doing more of this type of preparation work, possibly taught as part of a life skills class.

‘This would not be difficult for schools to accomplish, but for a small business, teaching new starters this on a one-to-one basis is labour intensive and therefore costly.’

The FPB calls for the education system to engage employers more to achieve these aims, so they can learn exactly the types of skills pupils are lacking, and also to better prepare youngsters for the world of work.

Jackman adds that small businesses would welcome a widening and simplification of the employer incentives available to them.

‘The problem for small firms currently is that there is no single tool to help find what they are actually eligible to apply for.

‘Let’s cut out the hoop-jumping process and streamline it for businesses that simply haven’t got the time to do endless research.’

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Employee skills

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