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What’s the best way to prepare young people for employment?

17 June 2014

10:22 AM

17 June 2014

10:22 AM

Britain’s skills crisis was addressed by the country’s leading educationalists today at The Spectator’s half-day conference, Giving Britain the skills it needs.

Matthew Hancock, Minister for Skills and Enterprise, delivered the key note speech. In it he outlined his plans for better preparing young people for employment. ‘I’m determined that apprenticeships  become the established route for all school-leavers who don’t go to university; not as a second option,’ he said, before adding that ‘demanding higher standards of people isn’t setting them up for failure, as we’ve often heard from the left.’

Hancock’s speech focussed on the need to establish how technology must be used to ‘spread opportunity.’ Schools and colleges should embrace new sciences, such as data analytics and e-assessments, to benefit both students and teachers. He acknowledged The Spectator’s success at combining the old and the new, ‘despite being the oldest continuously published magazine in English, you have wholeheartedly embraced the digital revolution.’


Lorna Fitzjohn, Director of Further Education and Skills at Ofsted then took to the stage to outline what makes for an outstanding careers education. Fitzjohn emphasised the importance of a system that is flexible to students’ idiosyncratic needs, so that they are well-equipped to manage their own careers guidance in the long-term.

The conference was closed by Steve Holliday, Chief Executive of National Grid plc, who remains optimistic that schools and businesses can efficiently collaborate to prepare students for the working world.

Live polling was conducted throughout the conference, with audiences voting on questions posed by Careers Lab, an initiative that works to bring businesses to schools.. The result showed that 91% of voters were given unhelpful careers advice at school. 83% thought that pupils’ post-school destinations ought to be measured and 90% welcomed employers supporting schools in delivering careers advice. As expected, the conference and the polls reflected the ongoing need for our education system to adapt and accommodate contemporary business requirements.

To watch the full conference, including panel discussions Schools are from Mars, businesses are from Venus: Can they work together? andCareers Initiatives – is there a danger of too many cooks spoiling the broth? Click here.

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Show comments
  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Face it Britisher pals, trash culture has become the UK’s mainstream culture. A casual reading of submissions from Internet correspondents will more than confirm this. But even serious is the attitude that spelling, sentence construction, grammatical errors … really don’t matter. A culture where learning and education are belittled as elitist. Where trashy tabloids and mindless soaps cater to the lowest common denominator. Where debate is deliberately excluded from the curriculum so as not to the bruise the delicate ego of losers who lack the necessary communication, reasoning and fluency skills. The pub with its low-level conversation that has replaced family life. Alcoholism, obesity caused by junk food , criminality, mindless violence … and I haven’t even started in the most negative influence of all, namely football.
    Bottom line, it’s Game Over, Britisher pals.
    Jack, Japan Alps

    • George Smiley

      What a lot of utter tripe and drivel! Well, whatever float your boat, eh! Is life really that boring back in Japan that you just can’t stop trolling?!

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Anyone want to borrow my stalker? The latest “must have” accessory.

  • wycombewanderer

    National service, not necessarily military, but in a lot of cases that would help, but national service all the same.

  • Mrs Josephine Hyde-Hartley

    Some well educated types reckon we’re really in a post-capitalist world and are trying to get their heads round the severing of some link between work and income.

    No wonder so many want to find out what’s happening with the post-school destinies of our young folk. Look well if these people can eventually find happiness without appearing to do so. What do we need an income for? The worlds awash with charity shops.

  • In2minds

    Send them to school in East Birmingham?

  • Kitty MLB

    The best way to prepare the young for employment, starts somewhat rather young
    with parents as an example and not sitting on the sofa all day, claiming benefits. We also need teachers who also set a an example,
    who light that little fire and all children must learn the basics and the atrocious teaching unions ignored .
    Children must be nurtured to reach their full potential. Tony Blair was wrong when he
    dumbed down university education with’ mickey mouse’ degrees, such as Nail Art.
    And he was wrong when he said all young people should go to university, some are
    not academically inclined.
    Finally they should want to work, New Labour the party of irresponsibility who were
    fame obsessed never actually set a good example .

  • Marquess of Salisbury

    We need to see a return to selective education.

    • George Smiley

      And bring back the cane, too!

  • Mark McIntyre

    The life chances of future generations will be helped by not having Careers ‘Teachers’ who advise them their be only one hope for a career…
    Our experience was blighted by only ever being advised that a Craft Apprenticeship with one of the then

  • dado_trunking

    The best way to prepare your children for what’s coming is to hand them over to a boarding school at your earliest convenience and let a Green Gove headmaster with specs on centrally beat some sense into them. Don’t let the parent near them, most of them would not know how to live Britishness anyhow, *teach* them Britishness instead. That will make good soldiers, that makes a good citizen taxpayers too – not complaining when the elite only prints money for themselves again. Thank you elite for looking after us in this way. That’s just common sense-ism. Tee hee.

  • JoeDM

    The children must see their Father going out to work each day !!!

    Its a family and parental responsibility not the State.

  • Paul Weston

    How best to prepare young people for employment is remarkably simple. They need a good grasp of reading, writing and adding up. They need to understand the importance of looking respectable, being able to get to work on time, of showing some respect and deference to their superiors.

    Sadly, these qualities are in short supply these days, after decades of progressive education which puts anti-elitism, self esteem and the forced celebration of diversity and equality at the forefront of our educational system.

    And even more sadly, the children who suffer the most from this liberal/left lunacy are the very people the lunatic left/liberals purport to care deeply about….

  • Harry

    Best way to prepare young people for employment is for parents – fathers in particular – to help their children think about their future. That means regular chats during teenage years about their plans, what they’re good at, where they might see themselves in ten years, and what their sense of mission or direction might be. In other words, help them to narrow their choices. Then the educators and mentors mentioned in the article can do their stuff …

    • William Haworth

      They also need to see their parents working, and gaining the benefits of that work.