Young are good for business

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A NEW survey has given a timely boost to the hundreds of Wigan youngsters leaving school this summer.

The poll found that 90 per cent of the area’s employers reckon teenagers have the ability to breathe enthusiasm and fresh ideas into any organisation.

Commissioned by national training provider, Lifetime, it revealed that to bag a job in Wigan, school leavers need to be able to demonstrate previous work experience.

Half of the town’s employers rank a candidate’s ‘hands-on’ experience as the most attractive quality on a curriculum vitae, compared to just a quarter who quoted academic qualifications.

Fiftyseven per cent of the employers also added that young people who have learnt on the job are much more attractive than University graduates as they are ‘work-ready.’

In the long run, companies benefit from hiring school leavers as they can ‘nurture and mould someone from a young age.

The findings do, however reveal a rather bleak outlook on the skills acquired during school life; 77 per cent of employers in Wigan believe the academic curriculum is not adequately preparing young people to enter the workforce.

Over a third of senior managers believe that many school leavers cannot even write a letter or create a spreadsheet.

A further 71 per cent admitted that even a University education is not enough to prepare graduates for employment.

Nigel Wallace, Director of Training at Lifetime, said: “It is clear from these findings that young people require a ‘stepping stone’ between education and a career and an Apprenticeship programme offers exactly this.

“Our research shows that companies in Manchester do understand the value of employing school leavers, but still feel that they do not possess the correct skills. Therefore, any talent a young individual has may be overlooked because of their lack of previous experience.”

A constructive two thirds of the capital’s managers said that school leavers would be better equipped for employment if skills such as teamwork, communications and self management were taught as part of the curriculum.

Mr Wallace added: “This is where Government funded Apprenticeship programmes can prove their worth; they bridge the gap between education and employment by offering the candidate real life experience within a company, while building their employability skills. Literacy and numeracy skills play a key role in the programmes.”

To speak with a career advisor and to find out more information about Apprenticeships in the fitness, child care or hospitality industries, phone Lifetime’s career hotline on 0845 123 8515.