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Lowestoft Journal: Why business must take responsibility for young people's skills


By: James Shipp Date: 14 October 2016
Category: Press Release,Lowestoft

We constantly read the results of surveys where employers say that young people come into the workplace without the skills that business needs them to have.

In one such report, an employer representative hit the nail on the head, saying, “It isn’t about pointing the finger at young people - it is a joint responsibility between businesses, educators and government.”

In an economy like Lowestoft’s, which will increasingly rely on the energy and high tech sectors, it is particularly important that our young people are learning the ‘STEM’ skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

Unfortunately, these are not always the most popular subjects in school, perhaps because students don’t make the connection between what goes on in the classroom and the skills they will need to pursue a successful career.

So it was good to see an event held at Ormiston Denes Academy this week, which brought together key employers from the area to highlight why STEM subjects are so important. Organisations such as wind farm developers RWE and Scottish Power, Cefas and the James Paget University Hospital all took part.

The school’s careers co-ordinator Claire Ladbrook said, “When a child hears about a career in science from an employer, it gives them the vision they need to take those steps forward.”

It is easy for us employers to lay the blame for the work-readiness of young people firmly at the door of our schools, but that is both unfair and not useful. It is incumbent on all of us to engage with the world of education and help schools motivate our young people to take those subjects which will provide the skills our economy needs. That is why we as a firm work with many local schools and colleges to foster closer relationships and build an understanding of the world of work.

Nurturing home-grown talent can only strengthen Lowestoft’s economy – as well as its social cohesion – and in a post-Brexit world, where we don’t know how easy it will be for employers to recruit skilled workers from elsewhere, it is doubly important that we stop complaining about lack of skills amongst our young people, and do something practical to remedy the situation.
 
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