Businesses call for exam reform

Blackpool business leader Steve Pye tells it like it is
Blackpool business leader Steve Pye tells it like it is
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There are a wide range of challenges facing young people in their quest to seek employment in tough times.

In addition to the ongoing debate about zero hour contracts, or lack of work experience opportunities, other employability topics are highlighted every August when exam results are announced.

Employers are looking for people who have life skills as well as academic qualifications. Recent research carried out by the Blackpool based Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) suggests five in 10 small firms believe young people lack a good attitude to work as well as other skills such as problem solving.

The planned overhaul of GCSE exams needs to help young people get the right skills for the workplace say small business owners.

The Government consultation on GCSE reform has now closed and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) believes it is vital that changes do not just focus on grades alone.

Employers need the staff of the future to have much wider skills, such as communication, problem solving and a good attitude to work. Further FSB research suggests small firms believe numeracy (37 per cent) and literacy (41 per cent) are skills lacking in young people. The FSB suggests the Government should consider a pass/fail exam for these functional skills giving employers a clearer understanding of ability.

Indeed there must be more time in the school day to give students quality careers education and guidance. More than half of small firms are not confident they will find the right young person for the job.

Any change to the GCSE system must be clearly communicated. The 4.8 million small businesses need to know what grades mean.

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