9 October 2014
Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post about energy over experience; about taking chances on younger people with the determination and the hunger to succeed. It’s something I still stand by now, as I read that nine out of ten firms believe school leavers lack workplace skills. According to the British Chambers of Commerce, who surveyed 3,000 businesses about young people’s employability, they are perceived as lacking the right experience.
Personally, I prefer to look at a person’s values and attitude. Skills and experience aren’t everything and, whilst I definitely agree there should be more practical training in schools when it comes to things like business, budgeting and taxes, the responsibility of making children work ready doesn’t rest entirely on the heads of schools and universities.
As business owners, we’ve got to do more to tackle this problem rather than just complaining about it. Whether it’s offering work experience placements or running an apprenticeship scheme, companies can do something about the skills gap. If you don’t like something, change it, as the saying goes. In my experience, when you take on eager young people and give them responsibilities, more often than not they will exceed your expectations. It also puts you, as an employer, in a great position to train them to become the perfect fit for your business. Surely it’s a win-win situation.
Instead of businesses waiting for somebody else to bring people up to the right level, maybe more of us should be doing it ourselves. What do you think? Does the attitude towards young people’s employability need to change?