Businesses helping to close skills gap

January 21, 2020

Employers across the country are stepping up their connections with schools and work with students to build job skills and prepare them for the world of work, according to new research published today.

The Closing the Gap report by The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) highlights a significant increase in the level of business engagement in schools and colleges.

The report found a narrowing of the gap between the number of young people meeting employers and the target of reaching all secondary and college students in England. This shortfall is down by nearly half from 1.2 million to 700,000 in the last 18 months.

Eighty per cent of young people are now benefiting from meeting employers every year and two thirds (66%) are gaining from work experience.

The Marches LEP works with the CEC in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin where Enterprise Advisers, business people working with youngsters in schools, are still needed.

Kathryn Jones, Partnership Manager, said: “It’s great to see that businesses are engaging with schools but we know that there is still a shortfall in this region.

“The vast majority of businesses in the Marches are small enterprises, employing fewer than five people, and we recognise that often these are owner managed businesses and time is precious. But we would really urge them to get involved. We’re also really keen on hearing from businesses in our key sectors, such as agri-tech, manufacturing and food and drink.”

The report echoes the findings of the CBI’s Education and Skills Survey which revealed that 94 per cent of businesses now have links with the education sector, with 56 per cent reporting an increased level of engagement with schools over the last year.

Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, said: “It is incredibly encouraging to see so many businesses coming together to deliver so much for their local communities. This Government has set out an ambitious vision for careers education. We want all young people to have regular, inspiring, meaningful interactions with the world of work.

“Achieving this will help businesses broaden and diversify their talent pipeline. But it’s also about inspiring young people, promoting social mobility and giving every young person the opportunity to succeed.”

John Yarham, Interim Chief Executive of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “Meeting employers and experiencing the world of work is fundamental to improving choice and opportunity for our young people. That is why it is now at the heart of careers education and hard-wired into the new world-class standards operating nationwide.”

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