A current concern with employers nationally is ‘employability’. Many companies shy away from employing graduates due to their lack of ‘employable skills’. But what exactly are the ‘employable skills’ they are looking for?
The University of Kent gives a top ten of skills that make you desirable to employers: clear verbal communication, team work, commercial awareness (an understanding of the realities the company faces), analysing and investigating, initiative and self-motivation, drive, clear written communication, good planning and organisational skills, flexibility and good time management.
Although many of these seem obvious you may find yourself employing these skills at university but never actually being taught about them.
However, according to a recent Telegraph article it is actually the skills you are supposed to learn at university and earlier in education that employers see lacking in potential employees.
Research shows that more than four in ten employers are being forced to provide basic English, Mathematics and IT training because school and college-leavers do not have the basic skills required for work.
Almost two-thirds of the 542 companies surveyed by the Confederation of British Industry and Pearson Education complained that too many school-leavers were failing to develop vital skills such as self-management and timekeeping at school. They also couldn’t use a computer properly (which is astonishing in a world filled with social media exposure from an early age and many exams being taken online now).
In the next three to five years employers expect to require more people with leadership and management skills and less people in lower skilled jobs. Thus many workplaces are looking to work closely with educational establishments on a mutually beneficial level, if schools know what businesses want, businesses get pupils trained earlier and more efficiently; and pupils become ‘employable’.
One step towards this could be the proposal that children in primary school learn a compulsory foreign language as Britain is bottom of the foreign languages provision league out of the whole of Europe. Perhaps it’s time for the curriculum to become a criteria for ‘employability’, after all, getting a job is the goal of education, isn't it?