Education Alone Isn't Enough To Secure A Job, Say Young People

03/03/2016 12:09 | Updated 03 March 2016
Georgie Gillard/PA Archive

Nearly half of all young people believe education alone isn't enough to secure a job, with a third saying they are not taught the necessary skills required in the workplace, a new report has found.

In addition, a "postcode divide" is holding those from underprivileged backgrounds back from gaining the skills they need, according to one charity head.

The research, published by youth charity Young Enterprise, reveal 40% think young people lack the confidence to apply for competitive jobs because they are not trained how to pass interviews.

A further 33% say they are not given enough guidance when choosing their career, the 'A Generation In Crisis' report found.

The issue of unequal opportunities for young people from different social backgrounds was also raised, with 16% highlighting unpaid internships are only accessible to individuals from high-income families.

"There are clearly challenges for those young people who can’t depend on their family to support them financially while they take on unpaid internships and work experience," Michael Mercieca, chief executive of Young Enterprise told HuffPost UK.

"There is often a postcode divide between the extra-curricular activities that some children have access to, and we must work to end this so there is universal opportunity to develop these skills."

Only 16% of youths say their school "fully prepared" them for working life.

"Many young people who lack the family connections, financial means and resources to work away from home on unpaid internships will find themselves unable to secure placements to give them this extra element to their CV. ," the report notes.

"These findings underline the problems that young people face in accessing proper key skills training and advice on how best to apply themselves to a career."

Anand Shukla, Chief Executive of social mobility charity Brightside, told HuffPost UK children from less privileged backgrounds "often" face a number of barriers when it comes to getting a good job.

"They are more likely to be at schools providing low quality careers advice, and know nobody in a professional job they can use as a role model to ask for advice.

"Their families are less likely to have the resources to fund the unpaid internships that are now requisite for entering the most competitive industries like media or financial services, and they will be unable to afford many of the opportunities such as gap years abroad that enable them to build up the sort of ‘social capital’ that impresses on an application form.

Shukla added: "These children don’t lack ability but information and connections, which can then become a lack of confidence."

Nine in 10 youths say employers expect too much from school leavers, assuming they should be able to instantly adapt to the world of work and multitask in new environments. The figure reflects findings from the British Chambers of Commerce's 2014 survey, which found 54% of British firms believe graduates are not prepared for work, with the number rising to 88% in relation to school leavers.

Mercieca added: "It’s essential that the government, industry and charities work together to ensure that all children have access to opportunities to make them work-ready; by encouraging more relationships between schools and local enterprises, for instance.

"However, it’s also important to recognise that it’s not just on-site work experience that companies are looking for in new school leavers, but the skills that will allow them to seamlessly transition from the classroom to the enterprise.

"There is often a postcode divide between the extra-curricular activities that some children have access to, and we must work to end this so there is universal opportunity to develop these skills.

“Young people don’t need sympathy and rhetoric, they need opportunity to learn, not ‘guidance’ and ‘sign-posting’."

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