Call for employers to play bigger role in the classroom


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School teachers and parents are calling for UK employers to increase their involvement in education by playing a greater role in advising and providing work experience for young people.

According to research published today by the Association of Colleges, 93% of school teachers want pupils to have more access to employers and businesses while in education.

The research found that both school teachers and parents admitted to struggling to provide career advice.

Almost half of those school teachers surveyed said they had given a pupil bad or uninformed advice in the past, while 82% say they don't feel they have the appropriate knowledge to advise pupils on careers.

One fifth of parents (20%) feel out of depth advising their children about careers, and 32% say they only feel comfortable talking about jobs which are familiar.

The research claims that 34% of parents would like their own employer to offer work experience to their child. And 82% of parents believe work experience is essential in helping young people develop the skills needed in the work place.

It also revealed a mismatch in what parent and school teachers believe employers want from young recruits. Both parents and teachers ranked work and life experience low on a list of attributes they believe most important to employers recruiting from education. However, the research claims this actually tops the list of qualities employers feel is most lacking in young recruits.

Joy Mercer, director of policy at association of colleges, said: "Whether it's providing more work experience placements, getting involved in the shaping of the curriculum or just having more presence in the classroom, employers should be working hand in hand with educators to better prepare young people for employment and improve their job prospects."

Valerie Todd, director of talent and resources at Crossrail and commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, said: "Among most UK employers, particularly smaller ones, an employee's experience is valued above all other criteria when it comes to recruiting. However, there are a declining number of young people who get experience of work while in education.

"Sectors which have traditionally employed young people are in decline, resulting in fewer opportunities for them to gain experience."

Todd added: "Most companies can do at least one thing in their community to support this transition - offering apprenticeships, hosting some form of work experience or visiting schools to give talks."

The online research conducted by independent research agency ResearchBods was carried out in October 2012. It surveyed 777 parents of children aged 11-18 and 500 teachers of key stage 3 and 4 in the UK.

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