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Schools and employers must collaborate to help young people into work

Off the back of last week's GCSE results, research shows parents feel more must be done by employers and schools to provide work experience for young people

Most parents (82%) believe schools and employers need to work more closely to prepare their children for the workplace, according to research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The survey also highlighted that despite 78% of parents believing work experience provides the best way for young people to gain employability skills, only 32% agree that employers are actually doing enough to provide that work experience.

Separate CMI research showed that 85% of employers want students to have gained work experience.

It found that parents are roughly as confident about the careers advice they give their children (56%) as they are in that provided by their children’s schools (54%).

Parents' views play an important role in students’ decision-making. In previous research 77% of young people said that parents are their number one source of careers advice when leaving school.

Just half of parents (49%) think schools are still promoting traditional university routes over non-traditional routes such as apprenticeships – up from 45% in 2017.

Meanwhile, 32% of those surveyed agreed that their child's school only promotes apprenticeships to less academic children.

The latest data on apprenticeships has shown that apprenticeship opportunities are down by 41% compared with provision before the levy's introduction. There were 22,300 starts recorded in May 2018 compared with around 36,700 in May 2016.

Rob Wall, head of policy at the CMI, said it's important for parents to be aware of the range of options for school leavers, something that employers can help educate parents on through outreach activity.

"Many parents now have confidence in the careers advice they give their children. Given this, it’s critical that parents are up to date with the full range of study and work options available to their children post-GCSE,” he said.

“Employability is a key priority for parents. As the key influencer in young people’s decision-making, parents need to be making their children aware as early as possible about the range of options post-GCSE, which will help them develop those skills we know are highly prized by employers such as management, leadership and enterprise.”

Last week's GCSE results showed that pass rates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have risen this year, despite an overhaul to make the exams more demanding. The proportion of students reaching the pass levels – England's new grade 4 and grade C in Wales and Northern Ireland – is up by 0.5% to 66.9%.