UK: Young people ‘not ready for work’, says FSB

ON the day the nation’s 16-year-olds receive the results of their GCSE exams, a survey of employers has shown that most do not feel school leavers are ready for the world of work.

The national survey, commissioned by the Federation of Small Business (FSB), echoes some of the concerns expressed during Suffolk’s “Raising the Bar” conference, called to address problems with achievement levels at the county’s schools.

The survey questioned almost 3,000 companies and in total eight out of 10 of the firms questioned by the FSB said they were not confident that school leavers were ready for work.

More than two-thirds (69%) said they rated school leavers’ literacy skills as poor or very poor, while more than half (55%) said the same about their numeracy skills.

When it comes to workplace skills, more than half (56%) thought that school leavers’ communication skills were poor or very poor, 77% said the same about their business awareness and 31% said the same about team working skills.


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FSB national chairman John Walker said: “It is a concern that businesses have again highlighted numeracy, literacy and core workplace skills, such as communication, as major problems.”

Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “Today is a day for celebrating the achievements and hard work of young people across Suffolk. So while we wouldn’t want to undermine their success, we do agree that more could be done to get them ready for the world of work.”

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Cllr Terry said the EADT-sponsored Maths Challenge and the county’s Raising the Bar programmes were about raising the attainment, aspirations and employability of Suffolk’s young people.

“To do this we need to ensure raising attainment becomes everybody’s business – parents, carers, employers and the media,” she added.

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