School leavers ‘are not ready for work’

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Eight in 10 businesses don’t believe school leavers are ready for work and say more should be done to help prepare them for employment, in a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses.

Almost six out of 10 firms responding to the survey complained that their young employees had poor literacy skills, while just over half said numeracy and communication skills were poor.

More than three out of four firms thought school leavers’ general business awareness was poor, prompting calls from the FSB for pupils to be given careers guidance earlier in their school life and should be taught about writing CVs, time-keeping, problem solving and team working.

FSB regional chairman and small businessman Gordon Millward said: “Businesses are more than ready to invest time and money training staff in job-related skills, but expect them to come with at least the basics.

“It is a concern that businesses have again highlighted numeracy, literacy and core workplace skills, such as communication, as major problems. These are the skills with which young people need to be equipped with to be successful in today’s tough jobs market.

“We want to see schools give these skills a higher priority by embedding them in all teaching from an early stage. All schools should be offering work experience to their pupils .”