Charity boss condemns 'sausage factory' education system

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Young people need to be equipped with vital skills to help them in the workplace rather than going through a "sausage factory" education system, according to the chief executive of a charity.  

Michael Mercieca, chief executive of Young Enterprise, which helps children and young adults to learn money and business skills, said ensuring children are adequately prepared for the world of work and not just focusing on exam grades could help boost the economy.

Mr Mercieca told the Press Association that the education system at the moment has a "one size fits all" nature.

He said: "It is very narrowly focused on getting good academic results and going on to college or university. That's what it caters for."

He said that young people are measured on academic criteria and exams, "and if you don't do well in those you are deemed to have failed so as you go through the system ... you end up being disillusioned, demotivated, disengaged".

He continued: "So that's a sausage factory and if you can try and engage students in different ways ... you can make people more confident and realise everyone is capable of doing something. And that's linked to careers guidance as well."

Resilience, problem solving, creativity and financial capability are all important workplace skills, he said. 

And children may not necessarily pick up the communication skills that will help them in the workplace in adulthood, even if they come out with good academic grades, he said.

Mr Mercieca said that a "level playing field" in teaching these skills could help social mobility, as well as the economy. 

He said: "If you create creative people who are resilient and create businesses or become employees then the economy is going to benefit."