Youth employability is one of the greatest challenges facing our economy, and one that can only be tackled with decisive action. More than ever we need home-grown talent and it has long been said that we’re missing the mark when it comes to adequately preparing school and college leavers for the workplace.
In August 2015, research for the CIPD’s Over-qualification and skills mismatch in the graduate labour market policy report found that while the number of graduates has accelerated over the past few decades, the number of graduates in highly-skilled roles has failed to follow suit. In fact, many graduates now find themselves taking roles that would have been filled by non-graduates once upon a time (58.8% of UK graduates are in non-graduate jobs – a percentage only exceeded by Greece and Estonia). Over-qualification, it seems, has become a very real issue. And yet employers still bemoan a lack of talent – because while qualifications can be a nod to intelligence, they’re not always indicative of work-readiness, or commercial savviness.
Businesses (and the UK economy at large) are suffering at the hands of crippling skills gaps. Brexit is likely to further widen the divide between the talent we have and the talent we need, if the safety net of free movement of EU labour is removed.
With a determined focus on a new era of apprenticeships – something our Government is reassuringly dedicated to (evidenced in the introduction of an Apprenticeship Levy for UK employers), that elusive but essential talent could soon be within our reach.
From recent research, undertaken as part of the CIPD Labour Market Outlook programme in partnership with The Adecco Group of more than 1,000 UK employers, we found the current British education system is largely ine ective when it comes to providing youngsters with an adequate range of key business skills, including communication and teamwork. In fact, employers believe that skills such as time management and commercial awareness are better acquired as an apprentice; only critical thinking and presentation skills were thought to be btter acquired at university. The results of the research also suggest that apprentices integrate far better into company culture than do graduates (47%, with a balance of +40).
When asked to describe the value they bring to a business:
• one in three employers believes that apprentices and graduates are of equal value – even before the apprentice is fully trained
• 12% believe apprentices and graduates hold equal value, only once the apprentice has completed their training
• 11% believe an apprentice will be more valuable than a graduate to the firm throughout the duration of their employment
• 10% feel apprentices add no value until they are qualified.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Closing the skills gap: will apprenticeships deliver the workforce of tomorrow?