Poor standards of english and maths could hinder school leavers

Published on Monday, 09 May 2011 09:19
Posted by Scott Buckler

Employers are concerned with the basic skills levels of school and college leavers, the CBI / EDI annual Education & Skills survey 2011 revealed today (9th May)

The CBI /EDI survey of 566 employers shows 42% are not satisfied with the basic use of English by school and college leavers, while more than a third (35%) are concerned with the basic numeracy skills in this age group. To address the weaknesses in basic skills, almost half (44%) of employers have had to invest in remedial training for school and college leavers.

The survey shows that young people are not in a position to make informed choices about their future career because of inadequate advice in schools and colleges. Only 6% of businesses are confident that advice is good enough, while 64% think advice must improve. There is an appetite among employers to play a greater role in delivering careers advice, with 54% willing to do more, rising to 66% of large firms.

Companies also found school and college leavers lacking in important employability skills, with 69% saying they have inadequate business and customer awareness, and over half (55%) experiencing weaknesses in school leavers’ self-management skills. Two thirds (70%) want to see these made a top priority at school and college.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said:

It’s alarming that a significant number of employers have concerns about the basic skills of school and college leavers. Companies do not expect them to produce ‘job-ready’ young people, but having a solid foundation in basic skills, such as literacy and numeracy, is fundamental for work.

“These findings are echoed in the OECD PISA survey which shows that between 2000 and 2009 secondary school pupils in the UK fell in international rankings for reading, maths and science.

“Students need better careers advice early on, so they can make informed decisions about what subjects they choose, knowing what types of jobs they could lead to.

“Employability skills are crucial to making the smooth transition from education to the workplace, but companies are finding that school leavers lack many of these essential competencies. The best way to overcome this is to embed the teaching of these skills into curriculum and course structures.”

Source: CBI

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