Monday June 13, 2005
Nearly half of working people in their 20s said their education had
not prepared them well enough for their first job, according to a
poll by the schools inspectorate, Ofsted.
Ofsted's poll found that 53% of working adults aged between 20
and 30 said they were well-prepared for their first job, while 45%
said they were not. Three fifths (60%) of interviewees said they
were well-prepared for work in general - and less than two fifths
felt they were not.
thirds of those polled felt more could have been done to prepare
them for the world of work, with 23% suggesting they would have
benefited from more work experience and 8% believing that more
vocational training would have been useful.
While around 80% of those polled felt that their education
provided them with good numeracy and literacy skills, nearly 50%
thought their education did not put enough emphasis on attention to
detail, meeting deadlines and team working.
Those interviewed were more positive about their preparation for
general working life and graduates were more positive than those who
had left education between 16 and 21.
Ofsted said today that the survey showed young people believed
employers had a strong part to play in developing the skills needed
for a job. They felt their education equipped them well in basic
literacy skills but not well enough in areas such as problem
Ofsted's director of corporate services, Robert Green, said
today: "Businesses need employees with a 'can-do' attitude, a
willingness to take on responsibility, a creative and innovative
approach to solving problems and the ability to cope with
uncertainty. The question is how do we ensure young people develop
Attempts to give 14 to 16-year olds more vocational courses in
colleges and work-based training have proved very popular but have
been plagued with truancy as teenagers move between schools,
colleges and companies, reported Ofsted, in its first full report on
the government's increased flexibility programme (IFP), which has
been trialled for two years.
"Attendance in the lessons observed on out-of-school programmes
has declined over the two years and is well below that in secondary
schools as a whole, the report said.
"Attendance varies, depending on the provider: the worst
attendance rate being at colleges, where it has fallen to only 68%.
However, this figure includes days missed due to activities back at
school, such as mock GCSE examinations, about which colleges have
not been notified in advance," reported Ofsted.
Overall attendance on the trial schemes had fallen from 87% to
75%, the report said.
However the programme has led to more young people continuing in
education, according to Ofsted - encouraging news for the
government, which wants to extend the scheme throughout England to
offer vocational education to young people who are turned off by
academic GCSEs and A-levels.
Schools are criticised in the report for not sharing information
with colleges and business partners and for failing to monitor the
progress of pupils on programmes outside the school.
In the second year of the programme a large number of colleges
were reaching capacity in several vocational areas and had to
restrict the places available to 14 to 16-year-old learners. This
was particularly the case in motor vehicle, hair and beauty, and
construction, all of which were very popular, said Ofsted.
The report added: "Links between schools and employers have been
enhanced as a result of IFPs. However, schools could do far more to
prepare students for work experience and make better links between
their experiences on placements and their studies at school."