The continuing debate around the provision of accurate careers advice shows the clear mismatch between education leaders and employers when it comes to informing young people about work.
Much of the frustration and criticism from employers has been directed at schools. However the results of the British Chamber of Commerce’s Business and Education Survey paint a concerning picture for those of us in the skills sector.
At WorldSkills UK we work with colleges, training providers and employers so we understand that providing efficient careers advice isn’t as simple as a one size fits all, it’s far more complex. Young people need an understanding of how the skills they are currently learning are transferable between different jobs. They also need opportunities included in their training and study programmes which allow them to develop the employability skills that businesses are looking for.
Discussions around the employability of young people often focus on numeracy and literacy levels. There is no doubt these are important. However in the survey by the British Chamber of Commerce, in which employers called for key skills for work to be embedded in the curriculum, it was confirmed that employers value communication skills (88%) as the most important skill. This highlights the crucial need for young people to be given the opportunity to develop the wider skills that businesses are looking for.
Our research shows that WorldSkills UK Competitions can help prepare young people for work by enabling them to develop the key attributes and skills that employers value so highly including effective communication skills, team work, time management, and the ability to work under pressure. Over 80% of our competitors stated that they felt competing had increased their confidence in all of these key areas. But don’t just take my word for it. Visit The Skills Show in November and you can watch the UK’s top apprentices and learners demonstrate all of these skills alongside their technical knowledge in the National Finals of the WorldSkills UK Competitions. As the competitors battle it out for a Gold Medal in their chosen skill, our Skills Champions will be available to talk to you and your students about how their participation in competitions has accelerated their careers.
Furthermore, competition activity is recognised by OFSTED as a factor in raising standards in teaching delivery and outcomes for students. If the new strategies for international growth set out by Government are to be realised we need to ensure that all training for young people reflects world-class standards.
In addition to careers advice, young people need to feel confident in presenting themselves to employers in job interviews. This is supported by findings from the British Chamber of Commerce’s Business and Education Survey which revealed that 78% of businesses felt that young people should be taught how to conduct themselves in interviews. During The Skills Show your students can receive free one-to-one guidance from careers advisors on interview techniques, CV writing and applying for jobs. They can also meet with employers from all over the UK to learn more about what they are looking for in candidates.
High quality independent careers advice needs to be delivered in partnership between colleges, training providers and employers, at WorldSkills UK we can help you achieve this.
Don’t miss out, book now for The Skills Show which takes place from 17 to 19 November at the NEC Birmingham.
Ben Blackledge, Director of Education and Competitions, WorldSkills UK