What the Experts Say about the Importance of Employability Skills

 

Employability skills are at the forefront of government policy to increase the workforce from around 75% to 80% of the working population”. 

Leitch Review of Skills Final Report, HMT, 2006

 

 “A greater understanding of employability skills will enable today’s students to develop themselves, make a contribution and fulfil their potential”. 

Aaron Porter, NUS National President

 

 “Employability skills are central to gaining and keeping employment as well as career progression”

NIACE Briefing Sheet, 88 – March 2009  

 

“Employability or ‘soft skills’ are the foundation of your career building blocks, they are frequently referenced in the media as lacking in school-leavers, graduates and those already in employment.  Organisations spend a lot of time and money training staff, not in job specific areas but in general and basic skills.  In times of high unemployment employers have more choice of applicants and will favour those with well-rounded employability skills”. 

http://www.skillsyouneed.com

 

“The debate about employability and skills has been long-standing. The cultural divide between education and employment, and a lack of demand for higher skills (the ‘low skills equilibrium’) are critical barriers. After many years there has been no revolution and we are still discussing a lack of ‘employability skills’, with education providers remaining focused on qualifications’ targets rather than preparation for the workforce. Softer skills, such as communication, will grow in importance in an increasingly knowledge-intensive economy”[1].

 

 

The Government acknowledges the importance of integrating employability skills into the national curriculum in order to meet the needs of our changing economic climate.  Lord Leitch commented that “Employability skills are at the forefront of government policy to increase the workforce from around 75% to 80% of the working population”.[2]  

 

 

On 16 November 2010 the Government published two documents which set out a radical new strategy for further education and skills, Skills for Sustainable Growth and Investing in Skills for Sustainable Growth. Furthermore a recent consultation on revisions to the Inspection Framework (Ofsted 2011) explicitly referred to employability skills:

“Ofsted proposes that the revised framework, criteria and inspection methodology should – from September 2012 – place greater emphasis on direct observation of teaching, learning, skills development and assessment – and include among the assessed outcomes personal, social and employability skills”.

 

We are now realising that “Employability or ‘soft skills’ are the foundation of your career building blocks, they are frequently referenced in the media as lacking in school-leavers, graduates and those already in employment.  Organisations spend a lot of time and money training staff, not in job specific areas but in general and basic skills.  In times of high unemployment employers have more choice of applicants and will favour those with well-rounded employability skills”.[3

 

 

Recent reviews conducted by and for the UKCES have considered current practice across a wide variety of providers and found that businesses have tended to put more emphasis than colleges and learning providers on systematically assessing the employability of new staff, for example using standardised measures during recruitment.[4]

 

 

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[1] Employability and Skills in the UK: Redefining the debate         A report prepared for the London Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Commercial Education Trust   Nov 2010

 

[2] Leitch Review of Skills Final Report, HMT, 2006

 

[3] http://www.skillsyouneed.com

 

[4] UK Commission for Employment and Skills 2009

 

 

 

 

 

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