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Do employability and skills training programmes truly respond to employer needs?

Do employability and skills training programmes truly respond to employer needs?

New research from Alderwood Education suggests that employers are not adequately involved in developing training programmes (70%) and that candidates are less prepared for work than before the coalition came to power (30%).
Surprisingly, the research, which surveyed 396 specialists working within the employability and skills sectors, found that when it comes to recruiting, only 4% believed employers rated education highly and only a fifth (20.8%) considered literacy and numeracy as one of the key concerns of employers. Instead, 70% of those questioned believed employers consider relevant skills for the job to be the most important quality in a candidate, followed by relevant work experience (47.5%) and readiness for work, (39.1%). When questioned as to the primary reasons preventing employers from taking on the long-term unemployed via the Work Programme, lack of readiness for work was deemed to be the highest concern, (45%), with lack of skills required and insufficient job opportunities falling joint second.

Carried out just a month after the government confirmed plans to remove statutory work placements for all 14-16 year olds in the UK, the research reveals serious dissatisfaction with the way vocational careers are publicised at schools. Indeed, 88% of those questioned felt more should be done to promote vocational routes into employment.

The survey also found broad agreement that more needs to be done to tackle unemployment on a regional, rather than a national, level, (75%). It was deemed that localism does not feature strongly enough as an agenda conversely demand and supply is often considered a regional issue.

Anton Roe, Director at Alderwood Education commented: “This research clearly points to the fact that there is an ever increasing gap between employer needs and what the huge pool of unemployed people currently has to offer. In order to get people back into work, this skills gap needs to be addressed. More must be done to provide our potential workforce with the tools they need for employment.”

Lord Knight, former Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform said: “It’s clear that the coalition needs to revise its strategy for getting Britain back into work. We need to ensure that skills development is at the top of the agenda for both the government and businesses across the UK.“

Those surveyed as part of this research were employed within either the skills or employability sectors and range in level from delivery (predominantly Apprenticeship Assessors and Personal Advisors), to Director and above. If you would like additional information about the survey results, please contact Lucy Pope on 01489 873489 /

Alderwood Education is a UK-wide recruitment agency specialising in the Welfare to Work, Work Based Learning and Education sectors. For further information, please visit –


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