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Business leaders call for urgent action to Unlock Britains Potential

Business leaders call for urgent action to Unlock Britain’s Potential

Employers, Government and educators need to radically improve workforce “employability”

United in the belief that the UK’s education system is failing both British business and its workforce, a group of senior business leaders is today calling upon the Government, educators and fellow employers to work more closely together to ensure that the employees of tomorrow have the critical skills needed to secure employment – a mix of qualifications and interpersonal skills – that they have found are missing in too many young people today.

The group of executives, supporting the Unlocking Britain’s Potential campaign – led by Adecco Group UK & Ireland, the UK’s largest recruiter, and including a range of major organisations such as Cisco, Deloitte, Aviva and Business in the Community – believe that  greater interaction between schools and businesses is required to ensure that the UK can continue to compete effectively in global markets.

Research conducted by the Unlocking Britain’s Potential campaign has found that over a third of employers (36%) believe that the UK’s education system is failing to meet the needs of employers today, and that over half of UK workers (52%) think that the British school system does not equip young people with the right skills for work.

Recommendations from the research, that form part of the Unlocking Britain’s Potential Report, being launched today, include:

The need for structured collaboration between employers, education, government and other stakeholders to define precisely what we need education to deliver

Employers engaging more in education, helping schools, colleges and universities deliver against an employability agenda

Wider support to be given to teachers in understanding the needs of employers and the norms of the workplace.  Regular secondments into business and formal employer engagement in the classroom can help achieve this

The formalisation of work experience in schools, combined with careers advice to create an & lsquo;employment experience’ programme.

This week, figures from the Department for Education are expected to show record numbers of 18-24 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEETS). Earlier this month, David Miliband, MP urged the government to do more to tackle youth unemployment, warning that the costs of not doing so could reach &pound28bn.

Peter Searle, Chief Executive of Adecco Group UK & Ireland said: “While it would be an overstatement to say that the British labour market is & lsquo;broken’, our conclusion is that the UK has a number of substantial, interrelated employment issues that will severely hamper our ability to compete in global markets and will create an ongoing burden on the nation’s already strapped coffers, if not addressed as a priority by Government.

“Our education system is failing to equip the future workforce effectively. As a nation we place insufficient value on the basic tools of employability such as behaviour, attitude and communication – in the classroom, the workplace and in the home. As a result, we fear a whole generation of potential workers will be deemed unemployable, and lost to UK businesses.

“For this reason, our policy recommendations focus on placing employability at the heart of education: ensuring educators are fully aware of the challenges businesses are facing, and are able to nuance the curriculum to embed critical workplace skills at the centre of their teaching.

“The issues we have identified are not straightforward, nor are the solutions immediately apparent. Yet they are certainly real and pressing. The Unlocking Britain’s Potential campaign is now calling upon the government to take immediate action to instigate a national debate and bring businesses and educators together to focus on finding long-term solutions to the UK’s employment problems. Failure to do so will significantly impact upon Britain’s future performance in the global economy.”

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