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School leavers are not ready for work say business leaders

More than half of business leaders (54%) think the standard of education in the UK has fallen over the past 10 years and only 16% think it is easy to find skilled staff.

According to research from IMC (UK) Learning, 83% of employers believe many school leavers and new graduates no not have the skills to work in business without further training and 77% think the lack of basic skills among school leavers will contribute to a fall in the country's competitiveness.

But another survey from the Diploma Employer Champions' Network (DECN) shows 70% of school students would work harder if their studies were more linked to employment and 78% think work-related study will help them find their ideal job - although their opinions differ from employers in that 60% think their will find their ideal job after leaving full-time education.

Eight out of 10 school pupils in year 11 think work experience will help them find a job they like.

Commenting on the research from DECN, Sir Alan Jones, chairman of Toyota Manufacturing (UK), said: "These research findings actually provide some good news for business leaders amidst the current economic gloom.

"As an employer I am heartened to see students who may have traditionally struggled to see the link between what they are studying and a future career are now finding learning has become relevant to them in a way it hasn't been before."