A survey undertaken by Populus on behalf of the British Chambers of Commerce has discovered that employers do not believe that the current educational system equips school leavers with the skills they need for employment.

Showing the frustration which employers have with the education system, over half of businesses surveyed do not think that the quality of school leavers has improved in the last five years.  However, employers do believe that this could be addressed with the introduction of diplomas providing both vocational and academic routes of learning.  Crucially, employers believe that the diplomas must reflect key sectors of the economy.

Amongst the key findings of the survey were:

57 per cent of businesses surveyed said that they do not think the quality of school leavers has improved over the last five years.

61 per cent do not think that the current education system provides individuals with an adequate grounding to work in modern-day Britain.

75 per cent support the introduction of an overarching diploma for 14 to 19 year-olds that incorporates vocational and academic routes of learning.

80 per cent support specialised diplomas in subject areas reflecting key sectors of the economy.

David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“It is nothing short of a national scandal that so many school leavers neither have the qualifications or the aptitude to enter the workforce.  We have to ask, what can be done to reform the education system so that a generation of teenagers do not end up left behind with no experience of the world of work?

“The exam system urgently needs a revamp if future school leavers are to have the qualifications they need.  Education does not sit in a vacuum and it needs to be reconciled with the reality of what employers need in the 21st  century.  Specialised diplomas geared towards providing a vocational and academic education would ensure school leavers have the relevant qualifications and experience for the local jobs market.”