GCSE results dip as NEETs remain high

24 August 2017 -

ApprenticeKeyCMI urges apprenticeship push to improve UK’s lacklustre employability

Matt Scott

GCSE pass rates have dipped slightly as the results of a new style of exams are revealed. Just over two-thirds (66.3%) of students passed the new style exams, compared to 66.9% last year.

The news comes as official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) over April to June 2016 has fallen by 10,000.

Despite this improvement, there were still 790,000 young people aged 16 to 24 still classified as NEET as the UK continues to struggle with training young people adequately for entering into the workplace.

CMI director of strategy Petra Wilton said this figure was a worrying statistic, and urged government to create a new school-to-work syllabus.

“While congratulating the thousands of young people collecting their GCSE results, today’s NEET figures show us that far too many will struggle to make the leap from education to the world of work. As our own research shows, a third of 16 – 21 year-olds aren’t confident about finding a job in the next few years. This is a worrying trend as we consider the UK’s ever-growing skills gap. 

“A new school-to-work syllabus to develop employability, team leadership and management skills could go a long way in helping this transition. Students turning their backs on further and higher education due to high costs need to be made aware of alternative options. Higher and degree apprenticeships offer a direct route to skilled employment without the prospect of £50,000 of debt.”

CMI’s own Management Manifesto, launched in the run up to the general election, emphasised the need for this new syllabus aimed at the transition into employment, and supported the new Teaching Excellence Framework with its focus on employability in higher education.

“The UK needs 1.9 million new managers by 2024 so we need to strengthen routes into management,” the Manifesto said. “We need a new school-to-work syllabus, with better engagement between employers and educators, driven by new outcome measures for schools.

“In higher education, we support the Teaching Excellence Framework to drive a focus on employability for all students, and CMI will work with all of its education partners to help develop the practical skills, global mind-set and ethical behaviours that employers need. We also need to protect the access of overseas students and academics to UK’s higher education sector, a national success that must be nurtured.”

The Manifesto also reiterated the importance of the new higher level apprenticeships, including the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, in pushing the employability agenda.

“The new Trailblazer Apprenticeships offer high quality learning, including degree-level programmes like the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship,” the Manifesto said. “They meet employer needs and offer real opportunities both to young people and to those already in work, supporting lifelong learning.

“The new Government needs to back the continued roll out of these apprenticeships. We support the Apprenticeship Levy as a much- needed answer to long-standing under-investment in skills. Access to funding should be improved, in particular for small businesses. Government also needs to work with partners to improve awareness and understanding among young people, parents, employers and existing employees about the opportunities available.”

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