It’s not going to shock you to the core when I say young people often leave school ill-equipped for the workplace. I’m staying clear of schools’ bashing because schools are under all sorts of pressures, and it can be difficult to understand the employment needs of a fast moving economic environment, when you’re predominantly schools’ based.

Many of us have worked with employers who for understandable reasons don’t have the time or money to hire someone who doesn’t have the skills for the job.  We are still flooded with workers from abroad, who are well trained. It’s one of the downfalls of an open market; the other downfall is the still shockingly high youth unemployment figures.

To make a sustainable dent in our youth unemployment, we need pre-apprenticeships”

Is it the responsibility of business to work with ‘difficult’ teenagers and young adults, who are seen as having have poor social skills, can’t get out of bed to get to work and don’t know how to behave or present themselves?

Employers’ reluctance to take on young people is, unfortunately understandable.

What I have just described is a common perception; these young people are not only swelling the youth unemployment figures they are often seen as unemployable.

If you are considered unemployable, how do you change that? What help is on offer? How is it accessed and, is government taking this seriously?

In the present economic climate, some businesses are under pressure to make ends meet, many see a young, inexperienced worker as an unnecessary risk. Can we blame them?

A report out last month from think tank, The Work Foundation, agrees. The report: “Lost in Transition? The changing Labour market and young people not in education, employment or training.” Says; ‘The number of young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) has been rising for the last decade, the characteristics of NEETs have changed over this period, and states that labour market changes has affected the transition for young people from education into employment. Paul Sissons, one of the report’s authors says that young people need assistance at “this crucial point of transition.”

To make a sustainable dent in our youth unemployment, we need pre-apprenticeships, and we need these to be properly funded by the government, and employers need to know about them, and be encouraged or incentivised to take these young people on, otherwise in reality, why would they?

There needs to be recognised qualifications for pre-apprenticeships that give people a real step-up to a full apprenticeship.

It’s time to take pre-apprenticeships seriously. We need to stop thinking short-term”

Look at what Jamie Oliver has done with the Fifteen Foundation; what the foundation offers the budding chefs is more than a job opportunity – it’s basically, at the beginning of the programme a very good pre-apprenticeship, but it’s too exclusive, and only available for a limited number of students – if it works in catering, it works in other business sectors too.Graham Hasting-Evans is the Managing Director of the awarding organisation NOCN

It’s time for government, employers and training organisations to take pre-apprenticeships seriously: If we don’t, we will never tackle our NEETs problem, or our youth unemployment problem. We need to stop thinking short-term and fix these problems that are holding back UK PLC for good.

Graham Hasting-Evans is the Managing Director of the awarding organisation NOCN

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