Why are young people struggling to find work after school?

The Association of School and College Leaders says it is a ‘huge concern’ that teenagers across England are drifting into insecurity after 14 years of school education. How can educators help ensure that students are prepared to succeed in the workplace?

Department for Education statistics show that 14% of the 1,995 students who finished their 16-to-18 study in 2016-17 were not in education, employment or an apprenticeship within a year.

The figures cover pupils from state-funded mainstream schools and colleges, and only those in continuous study, work or training for at least six months were included in one of the categories.

Continued education was the most popular choice for school leavers, with 37% of students going into further education. Work was next, with 34% entering employment; only 10% went on to do an apprenticeship.

So how can schools ensure that these figures are improved and that 14% of students are not left with nothing to do after they leave full-time education? Here are some of the steps which Education World suggests to get students workplace ready.

Encourage teamwork

To be able to succeed in the workplace students need to learn how to successfully operate within a team. They need to be able to communicate, share, contribute and compromise effectively. Encouraging group projects at school can help students to gain these valuable skills so that they are prepared to work within a team when they enter the working world.

Be future-focused

Schools should not only focus on whether students know the classroom material, they should also make sure that as much of this material as possible is applicable to future career paths. Often students will sarcastically ask, ‘Why do I need to know this if I’m never going to use it in real life?’ Instead of struggling for an answer, teachers should be able to demonstrate why it will be relevant to some career paths.

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Problem-solving skills

Students need to be ready to deal with the unexpected problems and hurdles that often come with the workplace. Putting problem-solving activities into lessons will force students to think on their feet and help grow their ability to face challenging situations and reach solutions which, at first, may not be obvious.

Career awareness

It is not only important that students have the skills needed to succeed in the workplace, it is also important that they know about the different kinds of workplaces which exist and are open to them. Bringing in guest speakers to talk about their jobs, or organising jobs fairs in schools, will not only allow students to be informed, but also inspired. If a student is inspired by a job they become aware of, they are more likely to work hard to achieve their goals and less likely to sit around at home not knowing what to do with their life once college ends.

As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, it is vital that schools are instrumental in preparing students for the workplace. It is not enough for students to just be good at passing exams; they must also develop life skills which will enable them to get a job.

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