7 October 2015

I heard on Radio 4 earlier today that schools are being encouraged to teach more than just academic skills, they now need to teach character too.

Goal-setting with my eldest

Goal-setting with my eldest while on holiday.


I couldn’t agree more! There has been a generation of young people leaving formal education without those soft skills needed to perform in employment.

Many people comment on the entitlement of graduates and that universities are not preparing these young people for a world of graft – of working their way up – but it seems to have passed to younger generations too.

We’ve seen apprenticeship applications from school leavers without what we call ‘the paper round gene’. This is an essential part of our recruitment at UKFast and something that we look for in every candidate. Did they have a paper round at 14 or a job at 16?

When you have worked from an early age, you have an attitude that understands the workplace, that understands what hard work is and that understands earning rewards rather than expecting them.

I also think that competition in sport should be further encouraged. The concept of ‘it’s the taking part that counts’ is a dangerous one in my mind. Teaching children from an early age how to handle losing is immensely character-building. It ingrains an attitude of striving to do better, of learning from mistakes and of wanting to win. Which, I think, in the right balance is a fantastic trait to take with you into the working world.

Aside from that, teaching character is teaching children how to be themselves. How do you stand out in a crowd of academic achievers? Soft skills, personality and character.

I’d love to know what you think. Is school character-building enough without setting a focus on it?

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