Director of Consulting A&DC
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How should employability skills be developed?

17th Jan 2013
Director of Consulting A&DC
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A recent report published by the Federation of Small Businesses suggests that school leavers don’t have the right skills for entering into employment. A huge 81% of business owners, for example, said they were ‘not very confident’ or ‘not at all confident’ that students leaving school at 16 have the right level of employability skills. Added to this, more than half called for this issue to become more of a priority in schools.

Yes, it’s clear that the education system does have a part to play, and initiatives such as work experience opportunities are important in the development of pupils. But, addressing a student’s employability skills shouldn’t solely be the responsibility of schools.  

Interestingly, it’s recently been reported in The Telegraph that the Government recognises its role in tackling complaints made by business leaders. A new programme is to be launched to prepare young people for the world of work, which could be in place by September. Here, thousands of individuals ages 16 – 24 will be able to take part in a sixth month scheme to provide them with CV writing tips and interview preparation, and to help them develop inter-personal skills after they leave school.

If this approach does go ahead, it may make a real difference to the career prospects of the young people involved. But it’s important to point out that similar measures also need to be in place for when an individual does land a job. Employers themselves have equal responsibility in shaping their new recruits, such as through onboarding programmes.

And this shouldn’t end once an induction programme is over. Companies need to ensure that they help with this as much as possible throughout an individual’s career, not only to boost the general wellbeing of an individual, but to secure the success of the business.  This can be achieved through developing skills and behaviours, as well as offering new and stretching opportunities and experiences.

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