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Education system is not preparing children for work, say parents

Two thirds of parents do not feel the education system prepares their children for work, according to a new survey.

A poll of more than 3,500 adults by vocational body City & Guilds, published today, also finds 64 per cent do not believe children are being provided with what employers want, such as communication and teamwork skills.

The findings echo those of two recent polls of employers by CBI/Pearson and the British Chambers of Commerce, both of which said pupils are leaving school unprepared for the world of work.

The City & Guilds survey was commissioned by YouGov to reveal parents’ perceptions of their children’s education and future employment prospects. 

It found almost half (49 per cent) say employers care more about work experience than good grades, while more than a third (36 per cent) worry their children won’t understand the link between their education today and their future careers.

What’s more, 70 per cent of parents don’t feel children are ready to make decisions about their future at the age of 16.

There is some positive new for the perception of vocational education, however, with almost three quarters (72 per cent) saying that vocational qualifications are just as useful as degrees in allowing people to start a successful career.

This backs up a similar finding from a recent Edge Foundation poll of 1,000 parents, which revealed knowledge of vocational routes and recognition of qualifications such as NVQs and apprenticeships is improving.

However, Chris Jones, chief executive of the City & Guilds Group, said parents cannot be expected to know about all of the routes and options available to their children and the education system must do more.

“It’s no surprise that parents are concerned about their children’s futures,” he said. “The education system isn’t doing enough to link what’s being learnt in the classroom to future careers, or advise young people about the opportunities available to them. This isn’t good enough.

“It’s crucial that young people are given the chance to understand what the workplace is like, and learn about the skills they need to open the door to their dream jobs.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “We have reformed the curriculum and introduced world-class qualifications to raise standards across the board. We have ensured that young people who don't have at least a C grade in GCSE English and maths — the two subjects most valued by employers — must continue studying those subjects up to the age of 18.”

The spokesman said Tech Baccs, Tech Levels and apprenticeships had created a “genuine alternative” to academic education, with University Technical Colleges and Studio Schools giving young people specialist skills ready for the world of work. 

Related stories

Young people lack skills needed for world of work, says British Chambers of Commerce – October 2014

Education failing to prepare young people for work, employers claim July 2014

Parents showing greater knowledge of vocational routes, survey finds – October 2014

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