Susanne Johnson, chairman of the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre FSB talks about skills. We at FSB regularly get told that young people leaving school, college or university are not sufficiently work-ready.
It isn’t just literacy and numeracy skills which are felt to be lacking when a young person enters the workplace for the first time.
Skills we often take for granted such as the ability to work in a team; communicating effectively with customers using appropriate language, or problem solving skills are often sadly lacking.
Employers don’t expect the finished article and often like that they can mould a young person into a valuable resource within their business, but the basic skills mentioned above do need to be in place.
Part of the reason some small businesses are reluctant to take on an apprentice is because of a negative previous experience with employing a young person.
Enterprise work and Careers support from an early age is one of the ways of addressing this, yet is patchy across the education system.
Where the school believes in it and agrees with our assessment above it tends to be of greater focus, but there are many different calls on teachers time nowadays and some schools do very little to prepare their young people for the world of work.
It needn’t be a case of affordability, many businesses would be delighted to be invited into their local school to talk to students about what they do and they would do this free of charge.
What is missing is the capacity within schools to get this moving, if we could overcome that hurdle the possibilities are endless and could lead to better job outcomes for young people and greater community spirit too.