Education vs employment

news article

Sep 3 2012
Tags: Appraisals, Education, Employment, Personnel Today, Succession Planning, Training

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August’s headlines have been crowded with news of education and qualifications, as thousands of teenagers throughout the UK discovered their much anticipated A level, AS level and GCSE results. At the same time debates continued surrounding examination difficulty, marking strictness and the options facing these newly-qualified students.

It therefore seems timely to consider the employability of school, college and university graduates, and the steps that organisations can take to further their professional and academic development.

New figures show that one in six 16-24 year olds in England was not in education, employment or training at the end of June this year. This equates to 968,000 NEETs as they are collectively known – the second highest June figure for more than a decade. This is surely too great a number.

Pleasingly we read that as part of the Youth Contract the Government will be spending £126m on education and training support over the next three years, and the education reforms are said to support a world-class education system that will equip young people for higher education and skilled employment. If true, this should encourage UK businesses to better harness the talents and knowledge of our young community.

It has also been reported by The Independent that “young people leaving education with no job to go to will be made to do three months’ full-time unpaid work experience with charities and social enterprises or have their benefits cut”. It is said that under new Government plans 18-24 year olds who have spent less than six months in employment since leaving education, will have to work a minimum of 30 hours per week in order to receive their jobseeker’s allowance. Further advice and assistance will also be provided to support these individuals as they prepare their CVs and look for employment.

But what can we do as employers? Earlier this month, Personnel Today reported that 2012 university graduates rank career opportunities and making a difference in their role as more important than salary potential. This should be regarded a pleasing revelation, especially for companies that have previously struggled to retain valuable employees due to financial constraints.

As always we should consider what training, learning and development opportunities we can offer employees, however long they have been in the workplace. Not only will knowledge and skill progression seemingly heighten their morale and commitment; it should also help to ensure the greater nurturing of much-needed employment-related attributes that it seems some young people struggle to achieve.

Talent measurement company SHL has warned that unless UK enterprise identifies and supports potential leaders for the future, we risk a shortage of leadership talent – a “leadership time bomb”. It is therefore perhaps more important now than ever to devise and deliver growth opportunities, whether in the form of apprenticeships, company-supported education, on-the-job training, external learning courses, coaching, job swaps or secondments.

This approach doesn’t have to cost the earth either. Apprenticeships for instance can provide a cost-effective way to recruit and cultivate knowledgeable and skill-focused young people that can grow alongside your business, due to the funding support that is available. Elsewhere considered succession planning in organisations can actually save money in the form of avoided recruitment fees, more efficient role fulfilment and talent retention.

If you would like to speak to a member of the Cascade team about HR software can assist with the formation of learning and development plans, succession planning and appraisals, please call 0113 255 4115 or E:


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