Jobs: 188 firms and organisations want employability taught in schools

BIG firms and business organisations have demanded schoolchildren be taught to become good workers.

Companies like Nat West, 02, Bosch, Tata Steel, P&G, Citi, QinetiQ, Sage and the Institute of Directors are among 188 companies and business organisations that have signed up to the Young Enterprise Charter.

The charter demands that employability and entrepreneurship education should be placed within the statutory curriculum in UK schools. They warn that focusing on core academic skills will not improve young people’s employability.

Senior executives say they find young recruits emerging from education increasingly lack ‘employability’ skills such as a readiness to accept responsibility, business and customer awareness, problem solving, the ability to apply abstract knowledge and a positive attitude.

Currently Young Enterprise gives 250,000 young people from the ages of four to 25 the opportunity to learn these skills and about the world of work at first hand from 5,000 volunteers from 3,500 businesses. Some 30,000 older ones even got the chance to run their own real businesses for a year on the Company and Start-up Programmes.

Ian Smith, chairman of Young Enterprise, said: “We fully support high academic standards. But too heavy a focus on the purely academic approach runs the risk of downgrading other learning styles.

“What we see in the government’s approach is an alarming lack of focus on the skills, attitudes and behaviours that young people actually need to be successful in their working lives. Skills like teamwork, presentation, reliability, honesty, integrity, and punctuality, which employers like me look for when taking on new recruits.

“And my message to business is no less critical. I am utterly fed up of sitting in business meetings listening to people complaining, trying to blame their own failures on the attitude of the British worker, and particularly young people entering employment.

“If you want to change it, don’t just sit in meetings moaning, get yourself and your employees out amongst young people as business mentors, Get involved – there are plenty of opportunities in Young Enterprise to begin to inspire the next generation, and we have the tools to help you do that.”

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