YOUNG people are key drivers of economic growth but how often do we hear from businesses expressing their frustration that young people lack workplace skills?

A recent Workforce Survey published by our colleagues at the British Chambers of Commerce found that 57% of employers cite poor communication, resilience and team working, as the main reason why young people are unprepared for the world of work.

The Developing the Talents of the Next Generation report also revealed that a lack of focus on employability and enterprise in educational institutions (53%) and a lack of careers advice (46%) impacts on young people’s employment prospects.

Consequently Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce is fully supporting a number of national measures proposed by BCC for educators and businesses to work together to help young people develop the life skills they need to succeed in the workplace.

It will also help to ensure Milton Keynes retains its title for being the best location nationwide for jobs growth and continues being a magnet for businesses seeking to invest.

The proposals are:
  • Measuring schools on their pupils’ career destinations; 
  • A guarantee of a business governor at every secondary school;
  • Promoting enterprise modules for all higher and further education students;
  • Universal ‘experience of work’ in all schools UK-wide to improve employment prospects.

These policy recommendations on education and skills are taken from the BCC Manifesto A Business Plan for Britain, published ahead of the General Election.

Yes, it is important for young people to leave school with functional numeracy and literacy skills but employability should also be core to this if we are to develop the future workforce.

I also believe schools need to have a business governor or a similar role in place where they can actively build healthy relationships with the local business community and understand the core skills needed by employers.

Furthermore, we must ensure pupils leave education with high-quality exposure to business through quality work experience but employers must play their part by giving young people these insightful opportunities.

National campaigns such as the recent Careers Week are excellent ways for education providers to enable young people to connect with local employers or advisers and be inspired into a range of careers.

As a local Chamber we are keen to help schools engage and create those key relations with local businesses through our own calendar of events.

We cannot risk our young people being left trailing behind so let’s all work better to create a pipeline of talent, ready to become the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders of tomorrow. 

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