'Young people unprepared for world of work'

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 1 February 2000




(2000), "'Young people unprepared for world of work'", Education + Training, Vol. 42 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/et.2000.00442aab.003



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

'Young people unprepared for world of work'

"Young people unprepared for world of work"

Keywords: Young people, Work experience, Unemployment

Work placements are now a common feature of school and college life, yet schools are failing to prepare young people for the modern workplace, according to research from the Industrial Society's "2020 Vision" campaign. The research shows that many young people are left struggling to close the gap between education and work, with 63 per cent of 12-25-year olds saying that schools and colleges are not preparing them for the real world of work.

Roger Opie, Industrial Society head of education, comments:

Few employers appear to be committed to improving the situation. An isolated two-week placement spent photocopying or stuffing envelopes does not prepare anyone for the realities of working life. We need to create models of work experience that provide a real insight into workplace culture.

Some 28 per cent of young people believe there will be higher unemployment in the future. Around 82 per cent of 16-25 year olds believe that practical or vocational training should start at school. The Industrial Society suggests that, to make work experience work:

  • all partners should approach work experience as if it is an application for a real job, and an interview is essential;

  • agreeing a checklist of key skills for employability will provide a focus for employers, students and teachers;

  • the value of work experience is not confined to the two weeks in the workplace, but preparation time and a debrief add to the value of the learning;

  • partnerships between schools, colleges and business must seek a shared understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to make individuals employable;

  • more business people should visit schools and colleges; and

  • closer examination of Government funding in this area is needed.

The society's rallying call coincides with the publication of two books for first-time employees and managers - Flying Start and High Flying. The books act as straight-talking guides that prepare individuals for the modern workplace. The evidence indicates that knowledge of the workplace and practical work experience are vital. Among 20-29year olds with only basic education (23.5 per cent) unemployment is more than double that for those with a basic education and some vocational training, at 11.5 per cent.

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