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ARE BUSINESSES DOING ENOUGH TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN EDUCATION & WORK?

Barclays - Kirstie MackeyAre businesses doing enough to bridge the gap between education and work?

Simply put, the answer to this question is no, although big improvements in youth employability have been made over the last few years.

The number of people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) fell 15% between July and September last year. But there’s still a great deal to be done and, as reflected by a number of recent apprenticeship and employability education reforms, politicians realise this too.

Research we conducted with SME employers, highlights how important it is for young people to learn appropriate skills for the workplace. Too often, employers worry that entry-level candidates will lack a range of basic skills, including appropriate work behaviour. For example, more than two in five SMEs (43%) think young people will use their mobile phone at work or take too long breaks.

“Too often, employers worry that entry-level candidates will lack a range of basic skills.“

This is because young people are often told to find employment with limited knowledge of the skills businesses need in entry level employees. These concerns highlight the importance of education providers and businesses working together to prepare young people.

That’s where LifeSkills comes in. Our aim is to facilitate this collaboration so that young people gain the skills they need to prosper when they leave formal education. To date, LifeSkills has helped over 1.1 million young people via online and in-classroom support. While this is a fantastic achievement, we still need businesses, education providers and policy makers doing more to ensure every young person has the opportunities they need.

This can be achieved with more organisations committing to simple changes, like offering work experience or traineeships, which help young people improve their CVs and become more employable.

Companies can also offer apprenticeships, which help businesses and train young people. 76% of the young people employed on the Barclays apprenticeship programme were previously long term unemployed, but are now huge assets to the business.

“We all have a part to play in ensuring young people have the best possible chance of achieving their potential.“

Education providers can also play an important role in ensuring that young people are prepared to get the most out of these opportunities before they take them up.

We all have a part to play in ensuring young people have the best possible chance of achieving their potential. By connecting education providers to businesses, we can offer support to young people during the most important transition in their life. Together we can make a positive, lasting change to every young person’s life.

Kirstie Mackey is Head of LifeSkills created with Barclays


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