What are they actually saying?
School leavers and even some university graduates are unemployable because:
- they cannot speak confidently to adults
- they can’t turn up for work on time
- they speak abruptly to customers
- they don’t look people in the eye
- they fiddle with their phones all the time
- they are unable to perform simple maths
- they are unable to write clearly (presumably more comfortable with text speak)
John Longworth, the Director General of the BCoC has called for schools, and employers, to do more to help teenagers develop the “soft skills” demanded by employers and prepare them for interviews.
He also wants schools to enhance their careers services by forging better links with employers. (Do schools still have careers services?)
The chambers of commerce produced a survey showing that over 2/3 of employers thought that schools were not effective at preparing teenagers for work. Approximately the same proportion wanted improved literacy and numeracy and almost 90% wanted better communication skills. Over half wanted better computing skills and teamwork.
Mr Longworth said “It’s a scandal that we have nearly one million under-25s unemployed in the UK. Communication skills are a real problem both at interview and in the workplace where students cannot speak articulately and don’t know how to deal with people in a polite way. Then there is the whole business of punctuality where they won’t turn up for work on time and they don’t think that’s a problem”
As career coaches my colleague and I have delivered workshops to prepare graduates for employment for several years – but in Lithuania where they realise how important this aspect of their education is.
My colleague has also worked with a number of UK universities, on a voluntary basis, preparing students for interviews via mock assessment days. He has experienced most of the above things plus inappropriate dress and lack of preparation.