THE BLOG

Mums and Dads Don't Think Their Kids Are Employable

03/11/2014 15:59 GMT | Updated 31/12/2014 10:59 GMT

If I said that parents don't think that schools are preparing young people for work, would you be surprised? After thirteen years of compulsory education, you'd think there would be plenty of time to get young people ready. But having just asked over 3500 parents two-thirds (66%) don't think that the current education system does what we expect it to. As a parent myself, this is certainly something I sympathise with.

So why do parents think the education system isn't working? The majority of parents (64%) said their children are missing out on the key skills that employers want, like communication and teamwork. And over half (57%) think there's too much focus on academia. Similarly, a third of parents worry that their children can't link their education today with their future careers.

Experience vs good grades

Naturally parents want to feel confident that that their children will be able to get a job. After all, most of them will be working for at least 50 years after they leave school.

Parents want schools to help their children gain real-world experience so they are more prepared for the workplace. As the research shows, half (49%) of parents think employers care more about on-the-job experience than good grades. And they are right - City & Guilds Group research last year showed that 77% of employers said that young people with work experience are more employable.

Let's work together

So who is responsible for this? And how can we make sure that young people are given the right advice that properly prepares them for their next steps?

We often hear teachers being blamed for shortcomings in the education system, but they can't be expected to do it alone. Likewise parents worry that they don't have enough knowledge about different careers to give well-rounded advice. Neither can they be expected to be experts in every career.

When it comes to employers, they should certainly have a role to play. They should input into the education system so it meets their needs. And they should engage with schools so young people understand different industries and employers' expectations. But again, they are not solely responsible.

What we really need to see is collaboration between educators, employers and parents to open young people's eyes to their options.

There's a fantastic opportunity that does just this at the third annual Skills Show - the UK's largest skills and careers event. Running between 13 and 15 November, young people - and their parents and teachers - have the chance to meet employers, colleges, and training providers all under one roof. Not only can they talk to people and see skills being practiced, they can also 'have a go' and experience different skills and find out where skills can lead them.

It's an ideal place to start having those all-important conversations about the future - and to help young people open the door to their futures. And if the parents we talked to are right, it's exactly what they need.

We all want the best for future generations. We want young people to find careers that make them happy. But they need help along the way.