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Schools should teach vocational skills, says UK workforce

Schools should teach vocational skills, says UK workforce

Vocational training should be part of school life if we are to create a workforce fit for employment, according to new research from Adecco Group UK & Ireland [“Adecco Group”], the UK’s largest recruiter. As part of its Unlocking Britain’s Potential campaign, Adecco Group is calling on educators, employers and government to work together to embed workplace skills into the national curriculum.

As UK politicians debate the future of our education system, the current workforce has its own views on what should be prioritised in schools. In a survey of 1,014 office workers, fewer than one in five (17%) believe schools should focus only on traditional academic subjects, at the expense of vocational training.

While English, maths and science have traditionally been the cornerstones of the curriculum, Adecco Group’s research indicates almost half of today’s workforce (47%) believes embedding workplace training into the education system will best serve the interests of future UK business. Such a move would build on Education Secretary Michael Gove’s recent plans to diversify A-level students’ skills base by requiring students to study both arts and science subjects.

There are small regional variations in the value attached to vocational skills, with over a quarter of southerners (26%) unconvinced about the business value of vocational training, compared to only one in ten (10%) in the north.

Peter Searle, Chief Executive of Adecco Group and the Unlocking Britain’s Potential campaign, says:

“Across the country, almost two thirds of employees (64%) believe the UK education system has a responsibility to provide business with a labour force fit for work.With youth unemployment at unprecedented levels, we must act now to address perceptions among current employees and employers that young people are ill-prepared for working life.

“The reality is that while academic excellence is a vital part of the UK education system, that alone is not enough. Adecco Group’s Unlocking Britain’s Potential campaign is calling for young people in school to learn & lsquo;softer’ vocational skills, alongside academic subjects.

“While there are undoubtedly different skills priorities for those entering a professional services career in London or a manufacturing career in Lancashire, key skills like discipline, attitude and communication are basic requirements for almost any role. By involving local employers to deliver vocational training in schools, we can help every young person get a jump-start for their chosen career.”


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