Schools failing us, warn businesses

2005

Lack of skills is set to be a continuing headache for employers in 2005, two separate surveys have suggested.

A study by the Sector Skills Council People 1st has reported that more than eight out of 10 employers and trade associations in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sectors feel they are being failed by the UK’s education system.

Schools were not adequately preparing people for the world of work, with 72 per cent arguing that vocational qualifications were not fit for the purpose.

Nearly a third of employers in the three sectors were experiencing skills gaps in their current workforces, which were affecting their bottom lines, People 1st added.

More than 12,000 job vacancies remained unfilled because of a lack of candidates with the skills needed to do the job.

Its findings have been echoed by a survey by think-tank Tenon Forum that found nearly half of entrepreneurs – 43 per cent - find it hard to recruit the right staff because of inadequate levels of training.

Nearly three out of 10 small businesses warned the problem was preventing them from recruiting the kind of staff needed to boost productivity.

Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, said: “Employers in the sector are reporting that their staff lack the very skills which should form the basis of their businesses, such as customer care, communication and team working skills. We need to raise the game on skills across industry.”