Jobcentre staff to help schoolchildren gain 'soft skills'

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Thousands of schoolchildren are to be offered help gaining the "soft skills" they need to find their first job.

The Government said jobcentre staff will work with 12 to 18-year-olds in England to help them plan a career, giving advice on writing a CV, interviews and how to obtain an apprenticeship.

The announcement, made ahead of new unemployment figures, extends a trial started earlier this year in areas including Birmingham, Lancashire, Yorkshire and London.

Employment Minister Damian Hinds said: "When I speak to employers about taking on young people I hear the same message time and time again - that qualifications are important, but they need people who can work well as part of a team, talk confidently and adapt to new situations.

"These 'soft skills' are hugely important to employers and yet many young people struggle to develop them.

"I believe passionately that our young people must get the best start in life, and that's why we are putting rocket boosters under our efforts to help young people plan for a successful career."

The latest jobless figures follow news of job losses in the railway industry.

Rail freight firm DB Cargo is planning almost 900 job losses in the UK after a "dramatic decline" in markets such as coal, representing almost 30% of the company's workforce.

The German-owned firm said the rail freight industry was facing "unprecedented challenges" because of the fall in its core markets.

A number of Eurostar services are set to be cut as the company reviews its operations, which unions believe will lead to 80 job losses.

Meanwhile, research found that young people and recruiters were not connecting, as students are only aware of only one in four graduate opportunities available to them.

Vincent Karremans of online firm Magnet.me, said its study showed graduates were applying for jobs without knowing anything about the role or the company involved.

"Young people are struggling to wade through generic company messaging to find their way to the right job while businesses are wasting millions chasing and eventually investing in high numbers of graduates who leave within the first year," he said.