1. ITV Report

Lack of skills makes hiring young people 'a risky move'

Photo: PA

Young people need help developing "soft" skills, such as communication, if they are going to appeal to more employers, a business group has said.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) warned not enough young people had the required standards of communication and teamwork for the business world.

Some 3,000 firms took part in a BCC survey and almost nine out of every 10 said school-leavers were not ready for the workplace.

Just over half of those businesses felt the same way about graduates.

Having a degree does not necessarily mean the candidate can communicate effectively. Credit: PA

Three out of four blamed a lack of work experience, while over half said young people did not have basic "soft" skills, such as communication.

Instead, work experience should be compulsory in all secondary schools and assessment data of all schools, colleges and universities should include employment data as well as exam results.

However, half of the businesses who took part in the poll admitted they did not offer work experience placements.

John Longworth warned children had been focusing on getting into University too much. Credit: PA

John Longworth, director general of the BCC, said part of the problem was past governments setting "artificial targets" which gave school children the wrong picture about what was valued in the workplace:

Firms need young people that are resilient, good communicators and understand how to work as part of a team.

We believe that successive governments have failed our young people by not properly equipping them for their future careers.

Creating artificial targets, such as half of school leavers should go to university, has in the past sent the wrong signal to young people about the employment and training options open to them.

Young people should be able to fulfil their potential in their own talent pool.

– John Longworth