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Majority of firms lack faith in young people

Nearly 9 in 10 businesses think young people leaving school are not prepared for the workplace, a study by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has found.

The workforce survey received responses from almost 3,000 companies and found that 88% believe that school leavers are ill equipped for the world of work.

In comparison, 54% think graduates are unprepared for the workplace.

The study found:

  • 76% of firms think lack of work experience is one of the main reasons young people are unprepared
  • 57% said young people lack soft skills, such as team work and communication
  • 46% said there is not enough careers advice for young people.

The survey asked firms about their current and future plans for offering work experience placements and apprenticeships:

  • 52% of firms do not offer work experience placements
  • the main reasons for this were time or cost (25%), too much school admin (23%) and a lack of information (22%)
  • 39% offer apprenticeships
  • 32% are considering offering apprenticeships in the future
  • 54% said funding for training would allow them to hire more young people.

John Longworth, director general of the BCC, urged educational institutions and the government to focus on equipping young people with workplace skills:

"...it is a joint responsibility between businesses, the education system and government to provide the right skills and support that young people need to make it in the world of work.

"It is vital that we proactively build a pipeline of young talent who will go on to become the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs, as failure to do so could damage the UK's future growth prospects and risk a lost generation of young people."

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