Education Secretary Damian Hinds says character-building is key to young people’s success in life and work; a view which supports our latest research on the skills most desired by Hertfordshire employers.

The Hertfordshire Employers’ Skills Framework Survey (HESF) is a research study by University of Hertfordshire Business School, commissioned by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Hertfordshire County Council (via YC Hertfordshire).

The findings highlight the importance that Hertfordshire employers from a range of sectors place on the 12 key skills identified within the framework, and their perceptions of the ‘work readiness’ of school, college, other education and university leavers. Notable is the shift in emphasis from academic qualifications to soft skills, including respect, determination and self-confidence.

This view was echoed by the Education Secretary Damian Hinds in his recent speech about the importance of building character and resilience in young people through the five foundations of sport, creativity, performing, volunteering and membership and work experience.

The Education Secretary said: “I want to make sure every child gets to build up their character and resilience by testing themselves from a range of enjoyable activities. This is about being generally better equipped for life but I also suggest this subject of character and resilience, while it’s not the same as employability skills is closely related. These are things employers increasingly say they need more of.”

The 12 key skills in the Hertfordshire Skills Framework are grouped under two main headings: ‘people and personal’ and ‘technical and practical’. ‘People and personal’ skills include the ability to perform the job and time management; persuading and influencing others; managing and motivating other staff (team-working) and setting objectives and planning resources. With regard to ‘technical and practical’ skills, employers highlighted a lack of knowledge needed to perform the role; inability to solve complex problems and the lack of numerical and statistical skills.