School leavers ‘not ready for work’
Published: 21 May 2012
More than four-fifths of school leavers seeking an apprenticeship are unsuitable for employment, according to a major firm.
Young people often have a poor attitude, wholly unrealistic expectations and are shocked at working hours, according to a training group owned by car dealer Arnold Clark. Some college courses designed to improve their chances amount to no more than “state-sponsored babysitting”.
The description was set out in a report to Holyrood’s Finance Committee which is investigating how to improve employability.
The report stated: “It is desperately sad and thoroughly disheartening to hear professional recruiters with 20-plus years experience of employing school leavers describe young Scots as unsuitable for employment. Yet that was the case for 81% of our applicants.
“We acknowledge that we may well be recruiting at the lower end of the achievement spectrum and so it might be better to view us as a highly effective safety net, saving almost 20% from lifetime unemployment. But we really do believe that more can be achieved for the unsaved majority with intelligent and innovative interventions provided there is the political will to effect change.”
The report was lodged by GTG Training, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arnold Clark.
Since 2009, 10% of the dealership’s apprentice intake has been targeted at the most seriously disadvantaged youngsters.
There were 3,810 inquiries for the modern apprenticeship programme last year, leading to 2,280 formal applications. Of those, 430 were deemed employable and 121 were given a job. A total of 1,850 were considered “not employable at all”.
The single biggest issue for transition from school to work is a discrepancy in working hours, GTG Training said. Apprentices consistently described a maximum 18 hours in class each week, with extended holidays and little or no access to extra curricular activities.
The report continued: “Those who transit to further education college rather than work re-emerge into the economy one or more years later with a further deterioration in concept of ‘working week’ and we are increasingly concerned at the state sponsored babysitting nature of some college programmes rather than the specifically targeted vocational training for near-guaranteed employment we believe taxpayers’ money should be being spent on.”
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