Ingredients for a work-ready workforce

17 May 2016 -


There are various easy ways to smooth students’ transition into work, here Professional Manager looks at the options open to business

Steve Dalton OBE CCMI

Managers are not born overnight. It’s very difficult for someone to walk into a new job and suddenly become a leader.

A manager needs to first gain the requisite experience needed to lead a team.

The task is made even harder for young people, who may not have had the experience of being part of a team in the workplace. No matter how small the group of people they are managing may be, they will need to learn the necessary skills to be a leader of people.

Businesses and education providers have a responsibility to make sure the transition from education to the workplace is as smooth as possible; the earlier you can expose young people to how industry or people in industry are working, the better.

Education about how to behave in the workplace should start right at primary-school level and run through to university courses – it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure this collaborative approach to improving workplace skills is taken forward.

Business also has a responsibility to engage with young people in schools and universities, to make sure the next generation of employees is suitably prepared for moving from education into a career.

It doesn’t take much on the part of businesses to make this happen.

There is nothing to stop any business of any size connecting to its local school and having a programme that allows those young people to come in and experience what it’s like to enter the workplace for the first time.

Companies have to explain the careers that are available and demonstrate the full breadth of opportunities that are out there.

This includes getting young people into the workplace and allowing them to talk to an organisation’s new starters in their own language, so they can see for themselves what it is like to make the transition from student to employee.

Responsibility for this does not just fall on the larger organisations; smaller companies can also set up programmes aimed at providing access for small groups of students to the workplace.

You don’t have to have them in for hours; even just one hour of interaction can make a significant difference to a student’s development.

If industry is saying it lacks people who are work-ready, then we’ve got to do as much as we can in industry and the education curriculum to close that gap. If the first time some young people go to a workplace is when they start their first job, that is a ridiculous scenario.

By getting young people into the workplace earlier, businesses will benefit from their younger employees progressing faster and adding more value to the organisation at a quicker rate.

Management apprenticeships are one way to provide students with the experience they need to learn first-hand what it takes to lead a team of people.

It puts them through the experiences of those they are leading, so that they don’t have to make assumptions about their emotions and how they will react. CMI’s Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship will be invaluable in developing the next generation of leaders with the proper skills required to integrate fully into the workplace as quickly as possible.

CMI research shows just how much professional management can add to the value of a business, with Chartered Managers adding as much as £391,443 to their organisation as a result of the skills they pick up through achieving Chartered status.

Whatever industry you are in, the world is moving fast.

Industry needs to make sure it is in the best place possible to take advantage. Making sure that the next generation of managers is properly prepared for the challenges of working life is just one way businesses can stay a step ahead.

Steve Dalton is the managing director of Sony UK Technology Centre and a Companion of CMI. This article was first published in the Spring edition of Professional Manager

Powered by Professional Manager