The British Chambers of Commerce wants Careers education on the curriculum

Ofsted should judge employability skills too


The OECD recently warned that youth unemployment was the UK’s biggest challenge.

The President of the British Chamber of Commerce, Nora Senior, blogged in July this year, asking why is it that our young people are being left behind while Britain gets back to work, and who is to blame?

  Businesses she speaks to, up and down the country, want to work with young people, and are happy to train and employ them. She writes that businesses ‘are often disheartened if not downright frustrated, to find school leavers and graduates do not have the minimum skills they need to join the workforce. Poor literacy and numeracy, behaviour and attitudes that don’t meet business expectations – the list goes on.’  Senior suggests that the government should ‘stop fixating on academics alone, and ensure that soft workplace skills are taught in our schools, or young people will continue to be left out in the cold. Getting businesspeople into schools to provide a real world insight into the world of work is the way to get pupils excited’.   Senior goes as far as to suggest that ‘Ofsted should be judging schools on students’ employability skills rather than exam results alone.’  She adds that ‘we must also put a stop to the constant tinkering around the edges by successive governments to a qualifications system that baffles teachers and employers alike. O Levels, GCEs, GCSEs, A-Levels, A2 Levels, SATS, Baccalaureates – is it really any wonder that we are being left adrift?’  Senior is also critical of current careers advice available to young people. She writes ‘In England, the government has removed the duty on schools to provide young people with work experience placements, and has replaced the ‘Connexions’ face-to-face careers advice with information that is only available online. This is because the Education Secretary believes that head teachers know what is best for their pupils. Unfortunately, when it comes to the real world of work, the truism is that head teachers don’t always know best whichever education system they are working to, and some continue to prioritise time and money on boosting performance in exam league tables.’


She adds ‘ Young people cannot match their talents and interests to a future career without understanding the full range of jobs available to them – those where their skills will be most in demand and best rewarded, and the qualifications required to gain those jobs. Careers education should be added to the national curriculum to help advise and educate these young people as they make the choices that will shape their lives – that means talking about the world of work before they make subject choices, not after they have been made.’

Source BCC Blog- 22 July 2013


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