Practical Skills Favoured Over Academic Qualifications, Study Shows

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24th July 2014 13:48 - Education

According to a recent study, three quarters (75%) of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) rank degrees less highly than they did 10 years ago.

The research, which was conducted by Sandler Training, questioned 1,000 SMEs and discovered that practical skills gained from apprenticeships are becoming increasingly more favourable than academic qualifications.

More than four fifths (83%) of the study’s SME participants said they were worried about youth unemployment in the UK – this figure rose to more than nine in 10 (91%) for the North West.

Furthermore, over half (54%) of those surveyed held the government and schools responsible for the country’s current level of youth unemployment, with just under one quarter (24%) placing the blame on businesses.

Just over one fifth (21%) of the SMEs questioned said they had recently hired a 16 to 24 year old employee, however, over half (56%) said it was not a good experience – two fifths (38%) put this down to lack of relevant skills, around one third (35%) claimed candidates didn’t have the right attitude and just over one quarter (26%) said they were frustrated because the recent recruits didn’t stay very long.

What’s more, the study’s findings also revealed that graduates (49%) are marginally less likely to be hired than apprentices (51%). In addition, SMEs predict they will be employing 20% more apprentices in five years’ time, compared to just 7% more graduates.

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