Market Research Finds Alarming Gaps in School Leaver Skills

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22nd June 2012 11:35 - Education

A survey of 542 companies by the CBI employers’ group and Pearson UK has found little improvement in the basic skills of school leavers over the past decade and a major lack in their education abilities.

The market research saw one-third of businesses dissatisfied with school leavers’ literacy and numeracy skills – while over the next three to five years, most employers claimed they expected to need more people with leadership, management and other higher skills, they are not confident of meeting that need.

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, said: “Employers still find that some young people lack the initiative, problem-solving and communication skills to succeed at work.”

In response to this issue, the government is compiling a new draft primary school curriculum that will specify words and grammar that children must learn at each age.

There are additional plans to re-instate the primary curriculum of foreign languages being made mandatory from the age of seven – the CBI-Pearson survey backed up this imperative since half of the businesses they interviewed stated the need for German and French speakers, 37% seek staff who speak Spanish, one quarter want Mandarin and one-fifth need Arabic language skills.

CBI Director-General, John Cridland, commented: “Rebalancing our economy will mean tapping into high-growth markets in places like Asia and Latin America, so companies will need people with the relevant language skills to do business in these countries.”

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