Employers want schools to teach 'soft skills'

28 August 2006
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29 August 2006 | Paul Snell

Education is not equipping school leavers with the "soft skills" that employers require, according to reports out this week.

The quarterly Labour Market Outlook 9 0 /edit/images/new_window_icon.gif 14 12 Opens a new window 0 false false false false%>]]> survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and KPMG found soft skills such as the ability to communicate, work ethics and personality are now valued more highly by employers than literacy and numeracy skills.

"Schools are getting better at enabling young people to gain academic qualifications, but are failing to equip them with broader employability skills," it said.

Almost half of the employers surveyed said schools should improve school leavers' interpersonal skills; 40 per cent wanted them to teach pupils to take more responsibility; and 38 per cent desired better communication skills.

A report published by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) backed concerns. In Working on the Three Rs the CBI said soft skills were "of increasing importance". A spokesman told supplymanagement.com: "Employability is not just academic. Employees need to be able to relate to people."

The reports were issued as thousands of students celebrated record GCSE and A-Level results.

SMaug2006

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