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Survey shows employers’ call for focus on key skills in education


A survey of 291 companies undertaken by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has shown a call for the education system to better prepare young people for the world of work.


The CBI/Pearson Education and Skills survey asked the companies – who collectively employ nearly 1.5 million people – their concerns and interests in the skills possessed by school leavers.


61% of respondents said they were concerned about resilience and self-management in young people, while 33% are concerned about their attitude to work. On a more positive note, the survey shows that 96% of employers are satisfied with the IT skills of school leavers.


There was a strong call (85%) for primary schools to focus more on literacy and numeracy.


John Cridland, Director General of the CBI, said: ‘Businesses feel very strongly that the education system must better prepare young people for life outside the school gates, or risk wasting their talents.


‘The journey from school towards the world of work can be daunting, so we must support schools and teachers to help develop the skills, character and attitudes students need to progress in life.


‘We’re hearing the right noises from politicians of all colours, but the need for genuine reform on the ground remains.


‘We need young people who are rigorous, rounded and grounded’.


The survey shows other key findings – with 56% concerned that school leavers are not equipped with enough knowledge of their chosen career. 37% share that concern for university graduates.


According to 44% of respondents, they have had to organise their own training to improve the basic numeracy, literacy and IT for adult employees – and 28% said the same for school leavers.


Cridland added: ‘Success should be measured by where young people go once they have left school or college, not on exam results alone. A switch by Ofsted inspectors to the kind of broad-based quality assurance that has served British business so well over the past 20 years is critical to this’.