Youth unemployment is a blight on the lives of millions of young people across the UK and brings with it serious financial and social implications for productivity and growth.
Every major economy preparing for the future will look to the next generation as the source of fresh ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. But with 625,000 young people aged 16-24 registered as unemployed1 at the end of last year, the UK needs to take decisive action to enable young people to enter the world of work and be successful in their career.
The first step is to recognise that the problem lies not with teaching standards or academic attainment, but with our wider inability to prepare young people with the life skills needed to successfully enter the world of work.
You could be forgiven for thinking that securing the necessary A-level results and degree classifications is the essential route to obtaining full-time employment. Indeed, the race for academic excellence knows no bounds with every school, college and university ruthlessly ranked annually in terms of performance in the majority of national newspapers and by a variety of industry bodies.
The obsessive focus on academic attainment does, however, often lead to the side- lining of many other important skills that cannot be measured or celebrated in a two hour examination.
But when it comes to the biggest obstacles in trying to secure a job, our research indicates that academic success does not always bring with it opportunity in the job market. 58 per cent of young people in school told us they believe they are not getting enough experience of work or education in entrepreneurship. A further third (31 per cent) said that they were not being taught the necessary key employment skills required in the workplace such as teamwork, confidence and problem solving.
The research also showed that nearly half of young people (47 per cent) recognise that an academic education alone is not enough to secure a job.