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Education should be more career-focused, say students

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Schools are too focused on exam results and not doing enough to equip their students for the workplace, according to a new survey of students .

The research, released today, reveals three quarters (76 per cent) of students said that their school trains them just to pass exams and get good grades, rather than preparing them for the world of work.

The survey, by the Career Colleges Trust, took in the views of 1,001 secondary students and 1,001 parents of secondary students.

More than 80 per cent of students said they thought it was important for the education system to be more career-focused.

However, a third did not think they had been actively encouraged to undertake work experience as part of the school curriculum.

Parents also admitted to not taking into account the vocational offering of a school when choosing one for their children, with almost a third saying they based their decision based purely on its position in the league tables.

The survey was conducted to mark the approval of 10 new career colleges for opening in September 2015 and 2016, including the country’s first in construction, healthcare, digital and professional services. Career colleges offer employer-led, industry-focused specialist education for 14-19-year-olds, based within existing FE colleges.

The new colleges will join the two that opened in September 2014: Bromley College’s hospitality, food and enterprise career college, and another based at Hugh Baird College specialising in hospitality and visitor economy.

Lord Baker, founder of the Career Colleges Trust, said the survey highlighted the extent of the skills gap.

“If young people themselves are not feeling prepared for work, employers will continue to struggle with the recruitment issues that have become such a challenge for UK industry,” he said.

“We need to ensure that young people are equipped with the skills they need to go into the workplace with confidence. This of course includes good levels of maths and English but extends far wider to practical, technical and employability skills.”

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