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South West business and education leaders say businesses and schools are ‘still worlds apart’ on readiness for work

By 10th November 2015 No Comments

Two-thirds of businesses (69%) believe that secondary schools are not effective at preparing young people for work, according to a major new UK-wide survey of over 3,600 business and education leaders published today (Wednesday) by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

Business leaders surveyed think that secondary schools could do more to help students get on the career ladder – with three key actions needed to bridge the gap between the worlds of education and work:

  • Embed key skills for work in the curriculum. The top five entry level skills that firms in Devon value most are communication (88%), literacy (75%), numeracy (65%), teamwork (54%) and computer literacy (51%).
  • Hold lessons around recruitment and interview techniques. Most Devon based businesspeople think schools should teach students how to conduct themselves in an interview (88%), demonstrate transferable skills (51%) and communicate lessons learned from work experience (40%).
  • Put direct contact with local businesses at the heart of careers guidance. Devon firms think careers advice should include encounters with employers and employees (76%), workplace experiences (69%), and link curriculum learning to careers (42%).
  • With youth unemployment still three times the overall unemployment rate, Plymouth & Devon Chamber of Commerce, alongside BCC is calling for action, not just from ministers and schools – but also from businesses, more of whom need to work with local schools to plug the skills gap and help young people make a successful transition from education to work.

    Commenting on the results of the survey, George Cowcher, Chief Executive of Plymouth & Devon Chamber of Commerce said: “Ensuring young people have the right skills to gain meaningful employment is extremely important. These survey results highlight how businesses across the region believe that secondary schools need to do more to help young people to make this transition by ensuring that their students have the preparation and skills that businesses value.”

    “Plymouth & Devon Chamber has been working on this issue for some time, and having recently announced our partnership with RIO to better communicate the value of engaging the business communicate to schools I’m hopeful that these results can trigger a step change from ministers to allow schools to increase their focus on preparing students for the working world. Preparing students to face potential employers should be given the same level of priority as academic achievement in schools in Devon and across the UK.”

    Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce announced a partnership with RIO – the Real Ideas Organisation – in October, for its new membership proposition for schools, Young Chamber, aimed at addressing the relationships between schools and businesses.

    Jonathan Clitheroe of RIO said: “It’s never been more important for the business world to connect with schools to support them in preparing the work force of the future. By working together, schools and businesses can create really meaningful partnerships that not only benefit young people’s futures and career choices, but also benefit the local economy.”

    “We’re delighted to be working with Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce to help bridge the gap between education and enterprise and hope that schools and businesses will join us in our mission to deliver better, brighter futures for all our young people.”

    Find out more about the Young Chamber proposition and how Plymouth & Devon Chamber is working with RIO to bridge the skills gap in Devon at www.plymouthanddevonchamber.co.uk.

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