Does education ensure young people are ‘work ready’?

The latest CBI report suggests that a large proportion of young people are leaving education without basic life skills that they need for the workplace

The latest CBI report on getting young people ‘work ready’ has shown that nearly a quarter of the 17-23 year-olds surveyed don’t feel that their education has prepared them for work.

Additionally, 44% of employers don’t believe young people leaving education are ready for work either as they lack the required business and leadership skills.

Teaching staff contributing to the report’s data said that there weren’t enough opportunities to develop skills that would make young people more employable (47%) due to changes in GCSEs and A-Levels.

The concern is that there is too much focus on simply memorising information that lacks real-world application and not enough focus on the necessary skills.

Commenting on the report Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The NEU welcomes the CBI’s report, particularly in that it recognises teachers’ concerns about the limiting nature of the EBacc and the challenges schools face in teaching a breadth of subjects but also in offering a broad range of experiences to support young people in their future lives in work and in society, families and relationships.

“We have said again and again that the EBacc policy will penalise schools for offering a broad and balanced curriculum, tailored to the needs and interests of their children, and we can see GCSE entries continuing to collapse across many subjects.

“This policy has reduced the breadth of subjects offered in many secondary schools, limited opportunities for our children, and driven many staff out of the teaching profession.

“Long-term damage has been inflicted on creative and technical subjects excluded from the EBacc; subjects such as art, music and technology, that are not just crucial for our economic prosperity but also enrich lives, are disappearing from our schools.

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“The need for a high quality and impartial careers services in schools and colleges is more important than ever yet funding an adequate infrastructure to provide such a service has been continually cut back or removed entirely.

“Our education system is clearly broken and the government needs to do some serious rethinking about the short-sighted and narrow vision of education they are providing for our future generations.”

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