Reliability and commitment are just as important to employers as academic qualifications, according to research into small businesses.
The interim results of the surveys were unveiled at a conference held in Somerset by the South West Regional Skills Partnership (SWRSP) with the Skills and Learning Intelligence Module (SLIM).
The research into the development of employability skills in the South West was carried out by the Centre for Developing and Evaluating Lifelong Learning (CDELL).
More than 100 people attended the conference, where speakers included Professor David Greatbatch of CDELL, and Dylan White of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA).
Richard Crocker of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “The consensus of the conference was that employability skills and personal attributes were just as important in the skills requirements of the region as academic qualifications”.
“Numerous surveys carried out among the membership of the Federation of Small Businesses have indicated that personal attributes are just as important, if not the most important element, in the selection of new staff,” he added.
SLIM commissioned the research earlier this year for the Employability Review, which was set up in the spring by members of the SW RSP. The Review looked at whether young people of the region were equipped with the skills and personal qualities needed to succeed in their careers.
Professor David Greatbatch of CDELL said that smaller companies seemed cynical about “key skills”, and placed more emphasis on good timekeeping, working hard, honesty, integrity and commitment.
John Routledge of the SW RSP said: “We want to raise awareness of the issue of employability skills and how important they are generally. It is a big issue for employers ““ they need their new recruits to have a clear understanding of the standards that apply in the workplace.”
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