Another day, another set of statistics to pour over. This time it’s the unemployment ones, including the worrying fact that around one million 16-24 years olds are looking for work.
Interestingly enough on the same day that these statistics were issued another article was published which suggests that an increasing number of graduates are shunning the traditional job route and are going it alone by setting up their own businesses. Self employment in general has also reached a record high, a further sign of the changing nature of the employment that has clearly been given impetus by the current economic situation we are in.
However it is the unemployment story which dominates the headlines. No doubt the usual complaints are already being trotted out such as the educational system and how it fails to prepare young people for the world of work, and the unrealistic expectations of young job seekers.
However I rather think that the system is also failing to educate employers as to how new entrants into the workforce need to be treated, and their understandable limitations when they enter the workplace. It seems that too many employers seem to expect new entrants to be the finished article, conveniently forgetting that we all need to start somewhere.
“Yes but we don’t have time to do this” comes the response. Aside from being false economy it would be genuinely scary if today’s fast moving world simply did not allow organisations the time to induct, train and develop their workforce.
It is also said that today’s school leavers and graduates don’t have the right work ethic. This is rubbish. Leaving aside the question as to whether they ever did (go on be honest think back 30 years or so), school students today are assessed and monitored more frequently and intensely than they were in the past.
Grade inflation is another issue. There may be more As and A*s being awarded but it does not reduce the pressure and effort required to get them. A majority of Bs and Cs might have been acceptable years ago. Seemingly they are not any longer. Changes to exam modules are frequent and it is arguable as to whether there is a level playing field between students of the same generation let alone those of different generations.
The increasing desire of young people to start and manage their own businesses is one of the real positives of the current situation. Older people don’t have the monopoly on the skills necessary to be successful business people. Financial and business education is one area that the school system has yet to fully address and it would be good to see this becoming a core element of what passes for the national curriculum.
You may have gathered from the above that I have children which are at the exam stage of their schooling and that there is an element of self interest in all of the above. Perhaps that is the case but I do genuinely believe that we as members of Enterprise Britain should look at what we can do to improve this situation. This is something we are genuinely “all in together”.