Schools and Universities have “lost the plot” in preparing young people for work

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Many entrepreneurs and business people are getting increasingly critical of the education system as many young people are leaving school lacking the skills needed for work.

“There are over one million young unemployed in this country and they are becoming totally demoralised by the job market. They have to be given confidence in the training and apprenticeships we can offer them. Otherwise, we will be dealing the financial ramifications of our failure for decades to come,” said Will Davies – a large scale employer in the construction sector, and a renowned apprenticeship campaigner.

According to a meeting headed by the leader of British Chambers of Commerce, John Longworth, schools and Universities have “lost the plot” in preparing young people for the workforce. This is something which Mr Davies agrees with.

“Our young people have been failed by the education system. As an employer I see youngsters leaving our education system every year totally unequipped for the world of work,” said Will Davies who is the founder and MD of property maintenance and refurbishment company

David Cameron has spoken of his government’s revamp of the apprentice system. More emphasis will be placed on qualification in maths and English, independent assessment and longer schemes.

“Having a basic knowledge of maths and English is obviously a desirable aspiration but at the end of the day skills training will better serve our youngsters than more academic requirements,” said Will Davies who is a long-time campaigner for apprenticeship reform.

Mr Davies is a believer in traditional skill-based apprenticeships designed by employers and not government appointed agencies as the best route to employment for none-academic youngsters.

“Improving the standards of maths and English will benefit many youngsters looking for work but there are many social skills and an attitude to the world of work that is totally unacceptable in parts of our young workforce that skill-based apprenticeships can remedy,” said Mr Davies.

Will Davies has recently made a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into ‘Construction and Youth Employment’.

“It is essential that employers are granted the power to design apprenticeships for young people. Employers know the skills they require and therefore they know the skills that are employable,” he said.

“Generations of employment schemes have failed young workers. Civil servants and outside training agencies (although undoubtedly well meaning) have failed to produce youngsters with employable skills.

“Employers like have campaigned for years to be given access to the apprenticeship purse strings,” said Mr Davies.

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  1. Have worked with graduates for over 20 years delivering graduate programmes as a ‘bridge’ from the world of university to the world of work, I agree with the comments within the article in that graduates have the intellectual capability but are lacking in social skills/behaviours as to how to work in teams, use influencing skills to get their views across, understanding the culture of organisations eg political awareness within the teams, departments and business they work in. Graduates can learn how to do this but they need the chance to be able to apply this learning and experience the results as to what happens when they apply these skills/behaviours ie what works well and what not so well and reflect on how they will improve next time.

    We at Leadership in Action Ltd are about to work with our local University and take on an intern who will work with us for c. 3-6 months. The intern gets the experience of working in our environment and industry sector, they will work on a specific project and we will be able to accredit that learning and application through a Level 5 Award – Conducting a Management Project.

    We as a business get the opportunity to have the project completed with a ‘fresh approach’ and more importantly we as a CMI leadership/management training provider are able to support local graduates by providing them real work experience and accrediting that experience and learning.

    We’re very excited about the new possibilities working with the local University can bring.

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