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Skills shortage worsens and employers fear school leavers are not equipped for work, says CBI survey

Employers don’t believe that the education system is equipping school leavers for the world of work, according to a survey conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Of the 291 companies that responded to the ‘CBI/Pearson Education and Skills’ survey, published today [4 July], 58% of firms are not confident they will have sufficient highly skilled staff available for their needs in the future. A quarter (28%) of firms who need technicians qualified in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) already report difficulty recruiting and a third (35%) anticipate problems in the next three years.

Karen Silk, managing director of recruitment firm Capital International Staffing, said schools heavily driven by league tables may mean children only choose the subjects they excel highly in.

She told Recruiter: “A child might get a B in maths and a B in physics, compared to an A in English and A in geography. The schools will just look at the fact that they are going to have a child that gets two As and don’t necessarily ask what that child actually wants to do with their career. By dropping physics and maths you completely knock out the chances of going into anything like engineering or computer sciences.”

In response what Silk describes as a “serious shortage of engineers”, Capital Staff have created a video to inform school children about the benefits of a career in engineering. It features interviews with two female engineers as part of efforts to engage more women into the profession. There are also plans to create a live link so that students can take part in a live Q & A with people in the profession.

The CBI survey found that businesses also recognise the need to support schools with 80% forging links of some type with at least one school or college. 
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