It's not just about qualifications. It's not just about education or background. How do I know? Because I didn't excel in either of these areas - instead, I actually put my own success down to something called soft skills - the vital skills such as communication, teamwork and time management which everyone needs to succeed at work and beyond.
The latest NEET figures show that one in eight young people are still not in education, employment or training. While there are many reasons for this, often, it can be simple things during the job application process that hold young people back. LifeSkills created with Barclays is a programme that aims to help young people build their employability skills and help them when they are applying for jobs. Below are some of the most common job hunting mistakes we see and tips on how to avoid them:
The Women's Engineering Society organised a conference on National Women in Engineering Day to explore the issue, entitled "Engineering Women: Are they returning to work?" The statistics and stories from the women present illustrated the extent of the waste of talent and imagination when fully trained women leave the professions.
I am often asked whether leaders are born or trained and personally, I believe that a healthy dose of both is what truly defines our best leaders... My thirty years in business has taught me that as employers it's up to us to identify employees with potential and develop them to become the next Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Paige.
"Improving the productivity of our country is the route to raising standards of living for everyone in this country... Our future prosperity depends on it." That was Chancellor George Osborne speaking just days after the election at the CBI's 50th Anniversary Annual Dinner. He's also promised his Budget next month will have "a laser-like focus" on living standards.
For many years vocational education has been stigmatised as only suitable for the 'less bright', and for those that needed to prepare for a specific trade. This is because vocational education directly develops expertise in techniques related to technology, skill and scientific technique to span all aspects of the trade
The Chancellor had a good tale to tell about falling unemployment, falling welfare bills, growth in output and living standards. He talked repeatedly about how the government of which he is a member is "fixing the roof as the sun begins to shine." The problem is, if we're not able to train people to do the job, he may find himself having to fix his own roof.
Politicians aren't known to agree, but they did reach a consensus on one thing last week: how poor careers advice is in the UK. That's probably not surprising to anyone who's recently come through the school system, which is why representatives of the three major political parties are calling for huge improvements.
Having launched VQ Day 2015 here in Wales earlier this month, the latter is particularly relevant. High quality apprenticeships and other vocational qualifications should be a normal career pathway for many more young people, and a routine means through which businesses recruit and develop their talent pipeline.
We're calling on politicians to think before they leap. City & Guilds wants to see long-term planning instead of short-term headline grabbing. If politicians can't learn from mistakes and leave policies in place long enough to make a difference, they risk another three decades of getting caught in the tube doors.
The shopping is done, the presents are wrapped and plans have been made. Yes, Christmas is just around the corner. And before we know it, we'll be toasting in the New Year. People say things tend to quieten down for businesses around this time of year, but this certainly hasn't been the case in the skills and employment arena. Quite the opposite, in fact.
It is natural for businesses to take stock of not only each financial year, but at the end of each calendar year too. As 2014 comes to a close and 2015 pushes its way to the fore, I have no doubt that industry leaders across the country will be taking time out to consider the ebb and flow of their order book in some form or another this Christmas.