Employers turn their backs on academic qualifications

New research reveals employers' opinions on the value of vocational education

11 November 2013 / Be the first to comment

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of employers see vocational qualifications as essential for improving the skills of young people and preparing them for work, with over half (53%) rating vocational qualifications as more valuable than academic qualifications. The new research , commissioned by The Edge Foundation and City & Guilds, gathered views from 1000 small, medium and large businesses. 

The vast majority of employers (83%), across a variety of sectors, believe young people need to be made more aware of the options available to them to progress to their chosen career. 84% also feel that children should be exposed to the world of work whilst still at school.

The findings were part of a wider project to understand employers’ experience of working with young people in Britain. The latest statistics come a few days before the launch of The Skills Show – the UK’s largest skills and careers event - which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from November  14-16th.

Speaking about the research, Chris Jones, CEO and Director General said: 'In recent years, society has placed too much emphasis on academia. But as the research shows, the current system is failing young people and not preparing them for the world of work. Employers are crying out for young people who have the right skills to add value to their businesses. Vocational qualifications can provide these skills – but how many people know about them? Careers advice provision in schools is limited, uninspiring, and often purely focused on university. 

'That’s why The Skills Show is so important. It brings together young people, employers and training providers to bring to life the opportunities skills can offer, and the exciting careers they can lead to.'

'We already know how important high quality vocational education is, but it is refreshing to hear how highly employers rate it,' adds Jan Hodges, CEO of The Edge Foundation. 'We have skills gaps emerging in many sectors within the UK and it is crucial that young people are given the right training and encouragement to be able to fill these gaps.

“The Edge Foundation promotes technical, practical and vocational learning and we must all continue to support this, if we are to have the skilled future workforce that our country so badly need. The Skills Show is a fantastic opportunity for young people to come and see for themselves just how many exciting career and training opportunities there are available.'

View the full research report 

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