Kids should be prepared for work at primary school

Children playing hopscotchChildren need to start being prepared for the world of work at as young as six years old.

This is the claim of a UK recruitment firm, which says kids need to learn essential skills including communication, team-working and project management from primary school if they are to achieve their full career potential.

Major recuiter, Adecco, says too many school leavers, college and university graduates enter the jobs market without knowing how to translate their qualifications into long-lasting careers. It said the "skills mismatch" exacerbates high unemployment, with high-achievers unable to land a decent job because their academic skills do not match what employers are looking for.

To solve the problem, Adecco warns that essential workplace skills like communication, team-working and project management should be built into the UK education system from an early age to help make pupils more employable when they eventually search for a job.

Not ready for work
This latest warning follows growing fears that the UK school system is not "fit for purpose", with employers increasingly admitting they are put off recruiting directly from school or university because individuals lack experience and knowledge of the real world of work.

Chris Moore, managing director of Adecco Group Solutions, said: "We are turning out world-class plumbers, engineers, fashion designers and so on. But it's the more general business, social and life skills that we need to prioritise if candidates who look good on paper are to be taken on and to become truly successful in their career of choice."

He added: "There should be much greater emphasis on ensuring students leave the education system more rounded and better prepared for the world of work."

More than good grades
Over the past few weeks, major employers including Deloitte, Lloyds Banking Group and TUI Travel have worked with Adecco to suggest ways of improving "employability", which would help alleviate youth unemployment – currently at the one in five mark.

Julie Mercer, partner at Deloitte, said: "If you attended a good university and obtained a good degree, there is no question that you're probably bright enough to work for a firm such as Deloitte. But we are looking for much more than good grades so our recruitment process focuses on the wider skills, attitudes and behaviours that we believe would suggest that you've got the potential to become a great business adviser."

The Telegraph reports that the Department for Education said it was working to make vocational qualifications more aligned to employer needs. The first of a series of new "university technical colleges" opened yesterday, a spokesman said, which offers full-time courses combining practical and academic studies. Employers are involved from the start in shaping the curriculum, he said.

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