New Survey of Employers show their concerns about school and college leavers
The UK will need more high-level skills to compete for growth so concludes a survey by the CBI and Pearson Education & Skills, which surveyed 542 organisations, employing around 1.6 million people, with the number of employers who are dissatisfied with school and college leavers’ basic skills remains stuck at around a third, the same as a decade ago with 42% reporting that they have had to provide remedial training for school and college leavers. The persistence of this finding has helped motivate the CBI to launch a major project designed to address this issue.
The survey also found that as the UK competes ever more for business and talent in global markets, employers are looking to up-skill their workforces. Over the next three to five years, employers expect to need more people with leadership and management skills (a balance of +67%) and other higher skills (+61%), whereas for lower-skilled workers, they expect to slightly cut numbers.
Importance of school performance underlined by more businesses building links with schools, with employers recognise that they have an important role to play helping students and schools understand what skills are needed for working life. More than a third have increased their engagement with schools in the past year (+39%), while just 7% have reduced it.
- 57% have links with secondary schools
- 56% with further education colleges
- But only 20% with primary schools
Over half of all employers already carry out is providing careers advice (51%), but it’s clear that more work needs to be done in this area, with 68% saying that the general quality of advice is still not good enough. More than 60% of respondents say they would like to play a greater role in delivering careers advice. But, the survey finds that no one current qualification addresses the combination of literacy, numeracy and employability requirements effectively. While employers think that for numeracy, GCSE maths is the best qualification, they say that vocational qualifications best equip young people with the broader employability skills.
The survey reveals that since the start of the Education & Skills survey five years ago, the number of businesses involved in apprenticeships has grown rapidly from 48% to 63% this year. More than half of employers (58%) say that they intend to expand their current apprenticeship programmes or plan to start providing apprenticeship places in the next three years. This is particularly encouraging in view of the end of government funding for programme-led apprenticeships and the need for all apprentices in the future to be sponsored by an employer.
In terms of action required to get more employers involved in apprenticeships, respondents highlighted the following:
- Qualification programmes that are more relevant to business needs – 46%
- Government support for firms to train more apprentices than they need – 37%
- Greater flexibility for employers to design bespoke frameworks – 36%
- More suitably qualified and motivated young people applying – 34%
- Reductions in bureaucracy – 28%, rising to 57% for larger firms
In November, the Government announced measures to reduce the amount of red tape around apprenticeships, but so far only 6% of employers say they have experienced a change.
Read the Press Release here.