Nearly Half of Young People Say They're Not Taught Essential Skills

  • Last updated 02 Mar 2015

New research reveals a glaring gap in the skills young people say they are being taught and those that businesses will want in ten years. Almost half of students believe they are not being trained in the essentials, but are they right?


The research from LifeSkills and Barclays shows that 14-25 year olds, and their parents, think employers will specifically look for recruits with digital and problem-solving skills, yet nearly half of young people – 48% – say they are not being taught these essentials.

The researchers used findings from the Future Work Skills 2020 report, which identified the skills employers would look for in entry-level recruits over the next decade. They then asked 2,000 young people and their parents to select the skills that would be most important to businesses in the next ten years, and if they were being taught them.

The young people and their parents agreed the top three skills required by employers in the next decade will be:

- IT skills

- Problem solving and spotting mistakes

- Working with people from different generations and backgrounds


In contrast, the skills businesses say will be most important in entry-level candidates in ten years will be:

- Ability to reason and prioritise

- Ability to work effectively in large teams

- Ability to solve problems and spot mistakes

- Ability to work with people of different generations and backgrounds

- Ability to understand complex data 

- Ability to communicate through video/audio rather than writing

- Ability to deal with lots of information at one time and multi-task

- Ability to specialise in one area but also be good at a broad range of subjects

- Ability to get the most out of working environments

The majority of young people did not recognise how important these skills would be to businesses in the future. Two thirds of young people didn’t know that prioritising workloads, having skills in a broad range of subjects, or working in large teams would be required by employers in the next decade. 

Kirstie Mackey, Head of LifeSkills, said: “Almost fifty percent of young people tell us they don’t believe they are being taught the skills needed to be employable in ten-years time. This is unacceptable.

As the experts in the area, and those likely to be most affected by a skill shortage, businesses must work with education providers and the Government to ensure young people have the skills needed to succeed when they leave education. That’s why we launched LifeSkills created with Barclays: to connect young people with local businesses offering work experience and to ensure they gain important employability skills in the classroom.”

LifeSkills created with Barclays is sponsoring National Careers Week for the third year, which runs from 2-6 March and aims to highlight the importance of careers advice and guidance.

During the week schools, colleges and education providers are encouraged to focus on careers by bringing together students, local employers and advisers through a variety of careers events and activities including; daily drop-in workshops; careers fairs and employer visits.


Recruiting school leavers? We can help