Deloitte, the business advisory firm, has called for major UK employers to help champion skills training and tackle the chronic shortage of “employability” skills.
Deloitte hosted an event today which was attended by senior business leaders, government and education providers, who recognise the value of employability skills and who will join Deloitte to champion and support this type of training for all young people.
At the event, David Cruickshank, Chairman of Deloitte said: “This event is a call to action for business and government to work together to provide opportunities for talent to thrive in employment and together have a major and long-lasting impact on the skills of the UK Workforce.
“Deloitte are looking for major employers to pledge to help us champion this type of training and, where suitable vacancies exist, to provide interview opportunities to young people who have completed employability courses.”
David added: “Deloitte’s own Employability Initiative plays a special role in ensuring that college leavers entering the workplace are equipped to join the workforce and make an immediate contribution to their employers.
“We know this matters to our clients and we are proud to be playing our part in making this practical difference. We have already engaged more than 30 clients in providing work placements to young people and are lobbying others to pledge their support.”
Speaking at the event, Skills Minister Lord Young said: “Employability skills are critical for people to succeed at work, especially in the current economic climate, and I welcome the Deloitte Employability Initiative and their commitment to investing in young people’s skills through practical learning.
“Improving the nation’s skills is at the heart of the Government’s agenda to ensure that the UK is able to compete in the global economy. That’s why we are supporting businesses to look to the long term and continue to train their staff through our Apprenticeships programme and flagship Train to Gain service.”
Also speaking at the event, Sir Mike Rake, Chairman, UK Commission for Employment and Skills, said: “Employability skills are a major issue for business and the UK economy.
“We can’t afford to educate our young people without giving them the personal, management and communication skills they need to be effective in the workplace. It is vital that business, education and government find ways to work together and find solutions to this issue.
“The Deloitte Employability Initiative is an excellent example of what can be achieved and the difference this can make to the lives and employment prospects of young people. We need more businesses to take this lead if we are to meet the skills challenges of the modern economy.”
John Connolly, Deloitte Senior Partner and Chief Executive added: “In the current economic climate, the skills of the UK workforce will be critical to business survival and growth. Challenging global business conditions raise the performance bar for all our people – and the same is true for the businesses we advise and support.
“Whilst many of our clients are facing tough employment decisions, at the same time they want to be confident that their workforce is well equipped to respond and compete in more difficult markets.”
Deloitte has an exceptional commitment to the support of education in the workplace, exemplified by its flagship Employability Initiative.
Working together with nine regional Deloitte Employability Centres, Deloitte aims to train a total of 800 teachers to deliver employability courses, reaching 40,000 students across the UK, helping them develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours they need to secure and sustain employment.
The firm has invested £2.6 million in the initiative to date, with a further £1.2 million planned in 2012. Deloitte’s total commitment to educational projects exceeds £1 million each year.
More than 600 Deloitte staff and partners volunteer for educational projects across the UK each year, including running skills workshops in Further Education colleges, mentoring secondary school students and helping children with literacy or numeracy.
Deloitte provides work-placements for older students and encourages school partners to visit Deloitte offices, helping raise the aspirations and widen the horizons of young people from diverse cultural and social backgrounds.
The distinguishing feature of Deloitte’s Employability Initiative is that learning is based around practical exercises that replicate real workplace situations.
The skills learnt are about the culture of the workplace, team working, communication, as well as personal effectiveness skills such as enthusiasm, self-confidence and a willingness to learn. The course is accredited by nationally recognised, government funded qualifications.
Earlier this month, Deloitte was named the ‘Best Big Company for Engaging with Schools and Colleges’ at the prestigious Sunday Times Best Companies Awards, recognising the firm’s ambitious programme to transform the ‘work readiness’ of school and college leavers across the UK.