A Levels done.. what next?
A Level results day is a nerve-wracking time for students, parents and teachers. This year we’ve heard that record number of students have been accepted into university, but that the overall pass rate has fallen slightly for the first time in over 30 years.
We’ve also seen an increase in traditional subjects that universities are increasingly asking for, over subjects such as media studies and political sciences, and more young women studying maths and sciences.
This is a great opportunity to think about what employers want from young recruits, either straight out of school/college or post-university.
Our own research with Opinium and the National Schools Partnership has identified a lack of key skills in young job seekers.
70% of UK employers say it is difficult to find good quality applicants for entry level jobs. And the problem isn’t limited to the UK, with 56% of Spanish employers, 52% of French employers and 75% of German employers saying the same.
The key skills needed aren’t those you can learn in the classroom. Skills such as communication, team work and self-management have been identified as essential when entering the job market, regardless whether that is going into business, setting up a company or working with a skilled trade.
Young people aren’t to blame for this. An increasing focus on academic work and grades means we are producing the brightest young people, but they are not supported enough to be fully work ready when they finish education.
So what does this mean for the future economy? Youth unemployment figures are falling but will they continue to do so as more young people enter the labour market lacking the required key skills?
More of a focus is needed in the curriculum to support young people to develop key skills. Teachers and centre leaders need support and resources from the government – it’s not as simple as adding skills to the list of measures to test schools against.
Young Enterprise’s mission is “to empower young people; to learn, to work, to live,” and our 5 Skills campaign calls for every young person to finish education with five key skills:
The campaign is endorsed by MPs such as Adam Afriyie, David Lammy, David Blunkett and Chi Onwurah, and the National Association of Head Teachers.
Businesses should also take on the challenge of ensuring young people finish education equipped with the skills for life, by going into the classroom as volunteers to work with students.
We’ve seen today that our young people are bright and talented. We now need to support them in creating a successful future for themselves.