This is the time of year when school leavers start looking for employment but Personnel Today report that 87% of employers feel that young people are not ready for the workplace when they leave school; apparently lack of experience and having “no sense of urgency” were cited as two main reasons.The research report discusses that the school curriculum doesn’t cover “employability” and hence children are not equipped with a basic understanding of behaviour such as turning up on time every day. Really?! We’re unsure about this as isn’t that what they have to do at school?

We know of many senior schools that do a lot of work with students on business and employment skills, supporting CV writing, interview skills, work experience and running projects such as Young Enterprise for example. Perhaps we’ve just been fortunate with the schools we’ve encountered?

But if this isn’t adequate what more do we think schools could be doing? Is it the school’s responsibility to do more? Or actually is this not the point at which the business steps in and takes over developing and nurturing the skills of new talent to build a valued workforce?

Apprenticeship schemes exist for this very purpose and there is a lot of talk about increasing apprenticeship opportunities as they can be valuable for both employer and employee. In the “good old days” this is exactly what business did – take on fresh “wet behind the ears” youngsters and train them in a trade or skill. Modern Apprenticeships have tapped into this hugely valuable model of on the job learning.

The report discusses some interesting initiatives for helping young people transition fro school to the workplace – not least ensuring that managers are equipped with the skills, mind-set and understanding to manage “novice” employees. Not least remembering that we were all once experiencing our first days, weeks and months in our first ever job!

Do you have younger workers or apprentices – what challenges have you encountered and how have you overcome them? Or is this report discussing a “problem” you don’t experience?


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