We were pleased to hear of a new project to increase the level of relevant work skills among school leavers – an area that has been traditionally overlooked in the past. The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) launched their Campus CMI programme this year and are already working to increase the number of participating schools.
Students can take level 2 Team Leader or level 3 Management – both levels actively preparing them for the workplace.
Training is always important and should be encouraged from the earliest stage. With youth unemployment on the rise we have to look at why young people are not being taken on by businesses. Lack of work skills has to be a key reason as a business is always going to employ the applicant with the highest level of skill. A large number of young people use University to bridge the gap between school and work but it is felt that even Universities fail in providing useful work skills. Add to that growing University fees and young people are left looking for other options.
Institutes such as CMI are stepping in to address the fact that, while still highly important to education, standard GCSEs do not provide young people with basic work skills and so they leave school with few possibilities.
The UK spends less on management training that the rest of Europe and it is damaging the youth employment prospects. It is great to see CMI doing something about this and hopefully other institutes will follow suit – but why are businesses unwilling to take on unskilled young people?
Managers believe there is a wide gap between school leavers and the skills they need to succeed in business. This gap puts most managers off employing young people as they would need to pay for initial training. More schools and young people should be aiming to fill the gap before they leave school to enhance their chances of finding employment. A business would not hire an adult with no relative experience so why should they hire a young person?
Taking on a new employee with no transferable skills is undesirable no matter what their age as a business then has to pay for full training costs from day one. Managers prefer to take on those with transferable skills they can build on and get working as soon as possible.
When applying for jobs you want your CV to stand out and show you have an edge over others. As we are told in the news every year GCSE and A Level grades are getting better and pass rates are in the high 90s.
How does a manager choose between 20 applicants who all have 4 A Levels at A grade or better? At a young age these applicants are likely to have only worked part time jobs in unrelated fields and won’t have had much time for work experience in between studying.
If a young person can show on their CV that they have management training (or even better – qualifications!) they have taken the step to plug the school/work gap with business training which will delight employers. Even better is if a candidate can demonstrate their business skills in an interview and show they have a knowledge of the workplace. School leavers are unlikely to have gained any work experience in management and so a qualification from CMI is the next best thing.
Having basic work skills in place allows school leavers to enter the world of work with knowledge that they can build on throughout their career. Continued learning is the best way to ensure promotion within a company or the ability to transfer to a better job elsewhere.
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