The report published by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and EY Foundation: Age of Uncertainty: Young people’s views on the challenges of getting into work in 21st century Britain, revealed 56 per cent say they lack the required work experience to land them the job they want.
According to Louise Coles, aged 18 from the North East, who contributed to the report: “It’s really hard to get good-quality work experience when you don’t have the connections, and even harder if you don’t know the options available to you.
"I believe that we need to remove these barriers for all young people. We need more information, more paid work experience and fairer application processes [for work experience].”
In addition, 63 per say say they aspire to lead a team, but only 25 per cent are confident in their management skills.
The report, based on a survey of 1,510 16-to-21-year-olds in the UK conducted by Populus, finds that a lack of connections, a steady decline in school-secured work experience, low self-confidence and an apparent lack of visibility of local employers, all have the potential to impact on young people’s working prospects in the UK.
Young people from lower-socio economic groups (DE) are considerably more likely than to say they don’t think that they can get a job locally, compared their peers in higher social groups (AB)
CMI and the EY Foundation are calling on employers and schools to back a school-to-work agenda as part of the national curriculum to give young people fairer access to workplace opportunities and to improve their employability on leaving school.
The focus for this agenda would be a new syllabus providing every young person in the UK aged 11 to 18 with the right support to ensure they have the best working prospects. Without this intervention, the report suggests that young people’s futures are being put at risk as demand for a high-skilled labour force is set to grow over the next three to five years [identified in the latest annual CBI education and skills survey].
More than one in two (56 per cent) young people said that they think it is difficult to get the experience they need to get a job they want. This could be linked to the fact that work experience is no longer compulsory in school and fewer students now receive it.
Just 51 per cent of 16-18-year olds say that their school offers work experience, compared to 64 per cent of those now 19-21. Nine in 10 (88 per cent) of the young people surveyed said that employers should offer young people more experience of work.
Young people aspire to lead
Two in five (40 per cent) of 16-21-year olds aspire to become the boss of a company, 63 per cent would like to lead a team, and 37 per cent would like to start their own business.
However, many young people lack confidence in their leadership and management skills. Only one in four (25 per cent) say they are very good at communicating what they think or taking initiative. Just one in six (15 per cent) say they are very good at talking in front of a group of people or getting people to work together (14 per cent).
But young people say they understand that employers are looking for practical skills, rather than just qualifications. In addition, 68 per cent say organisational skills and communication skills (65 per cent) are important for employers, with just 35 per cent citing exam results as being important.
The report’s recommendations include embedding the soft skills that employers seek by including accredited practical management skills in the national curriculum for 11-18-year olds.
Ann Francke, chief executive of CMI, says: “Young people aspire to become leaders but it’s currently luck of the draw whether they get the necessary chances to learn how. We need employers and educators to help the next generations to develop practical skills from a younger age. This includes making management and leadership skills part of the school curriculum so that employers can recognise their capabilities.”
Maryanne Matthews, chief executive of EY Foundation, says: “What young people are saying loud and clear in this report is that there is a disconnect between having an experience(s) of work and the confidence to get a job, especially if they come from a low-income household.
"And while we are hearing that many employers, schools and colleges across the country are doing great things and offering inspiring experiences of work, there are still too many young people who are not getting this access – and they are calling for it! We want every young person, in every region across the UK to have the same systematic and high-quality experiences of work with local employers. Greater levels of collaboration are needed to fix this - and that’s what the recommendations in this report are all about.”