Fewer than one in three (32%) business leaders think that schools are doing enough to equip pupils with skills for the world of work such as self-management, communication and teamwork, even though 98% believe these are important skills which school leavers need as they enter the workplace.
These findings from a new online survey - conducted by YouGov on behalf of the PSHE Association - of over 700 decision makers from British businesses come just days after the Prime Minister told the CBI annual conference that Britain needs “an education system that turns out people with the skills necessary to do the jobs that we’re creating in our country today”.
PSHE education is the curriculum subject focused on developing these skills, yet David Cameron’s Government has resisted attempts to make it compulsory in English schools. This is in spite of 85% of business leaders surveyed agreeing that the subject should be on the national curriculum.
These findings come as a Government-funded expert group released a report calling for business and education leaders to work together to develop and accredit a PSHE curriculum which schools could use to prepare pupils for the world of work. 77% of business leaders surveyed supported the idea of an award developed by business and education to accredit employability skills learnt in schools.
This call for a closer partnership between business and education is mirrored in today's report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, which recommends that 'education and employers should be better connected to prepare people for work’.
PSHE Association Chief Executive Joe Hayman, who chaired the expert group, said:
“Business and education leaders share the aim of ensuring pupils are prepared for the world of work. Now we need David Cameron to listen to business and make the subject part of the national curriculum.
We don’t expect Government to do it all, however. Today’s expert report and business leader survey show an appetite amongst business and education leaders to work together on this issue and an award for employability skills developed in PSHE could be one way to do so.
A nationally-accredited award would help school-leavers demonstrate they are work-ready and businesses to ensure they can recognise young people who can add immediate value to their business. This could be complemented by local school-business partnerships and work experience schemes.”
Piers Linney, Entrepreneur, founder of charity Work Insight and star of Dragons’ Den, said:
“Young people need more than just an academic education – they need support in understanding, developing the skills for and experiencing the world of work and for that to happen we need to take seriously PSHE education.”
John Allan, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:
“Our members tell us too many young people leave school not adequately prepared to go to work and this needs to change. The first step is incorporating these skills into the curriculum, but this should just be the start. We need the Government to think about making further reforms so employability is embedded across teaching and learning in all schools.”
Michael Mercieca, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise, said:
“A strong economy and a strong society needs firm foundations. We see statutory PSHE education incorporating financial education and enterprise education as sitting on the national curriculum. It must be included in a long-term, sustainable skills strategy.”
1. All figures are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 722 senior decision makers from businesses in Britain. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th - 20th November 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative British Business Size.
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