Speaking to many employers the common theme is that the average school leaver has a distinct problem with basic literacy, numeracy and general self management. This has been a problem through the education system and has remained constant for the past 10 years and remains at about 1/3 of school and college leavers not having enough basic skills. This then passes the burden on to the employer with 42% of employers surveyed having to provide remedial training for many.
The recent Education & Skills survey taken by the CBI and Pearson covers 542 organisations and 1.6 million employees highlights the deeper issues in the education system.
The other highlighted aspect with this latest survey is that even though there has been a significant rise in higher grades with A Levels there has been no improvement in the levels of education on a global comparison.
I have only selected 3 years of results to show the trend, if you look year on year the same pattern is clear and is a gradual process. I have combined A/A* due to the introduction 2 years ago and also E is no longer used from 2001 onwards. It does show that on a whole more people are passing and getting higher marks. Have a look at the link at the bottom to see all A Level results.
This may feel great for a student, not so useful in the real world. How are you meant to gauge between students if you can’t use exam results and they have no prior experience?
Is it just we have now become a nation that requires students to carry on until they finish university? One flaw with that is not everyone requires a degree for their job, an apprentice for example. As an electrical apprentice you need to be good with numbers and have good levels of literacy, you don’t however need to have a degree. This leave s a lot of employers taking on an electrical apprentice having to check to see if they have the basic skills required to be able to learn in the workplace safely.
I don’t have the answers to this. Teachers tell me that they are working harder than they have been doing, they tell me students work more than ever, so what is the issue of students coming out of school and not being safe to put into a workplace. The answer in recent years has been for employers to provide this service to any successful applicants, but it is not a long term solution as it is leaving our country to reduce the high standings we used to have in the world. One thing that does need looking into is something that will help provide the finishing skills for A level students who just aren’t up to it. A small employer can’t afford to do this and leaves them struggling.