School leavers falling well short of the mark

A significant number of employers are dissatisfied with the basic skills
levels of school leavers, according to research, but graduates are beginning to
prove the value of extended education.

The CBI Employment Trends Survey 2002, asked 940 employers whether they were
satisfied with the quality of school leavers and university graduates.

It showed that 23 per cent of employers are unhappy with the basic skills of
school leavers. One in four (24 per cent) are dissatisfied with school leavers’
key skills, and one in three (31 per cent) are disappointed with their
self-management skills.

However, employers are broadly satisfied with the quality of university
graduates. More than half are happy with their basic and key skills, and 34 per
cent are satisfied with their self-management skills.

A third of employers were not satisfied with the business awareness of
school leavers and 16 per cent are unhappy about the level of business
awareness among graduates.

The CBI study also reveals that there is still a long tail of
under-achievement among 16-year-olds in the UK. Half do not gain a grade C at
GCSE maths, and 42 per cent do not gain a grade C in English.

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