CBI favours business-related A-Levels
17 May 2010
There's good news and bad news in today's CBI report on skills.
Firstly they have opened the way to more headlines about 'schools in crisis' with the complaint that 1 in 5 employers had to arrange 'remedial training' in numeracy, literacy and IT for recruits from schools and colleges. Watch out for quotes from new ministers on the problems they are picking up from the last government - and treat with pinch of salt.
This is not proof that things are getting worse in schools as the employers have always complained about the quality of school-leavers' skills (you can trace this theme back to the 19th century). The figures are meaningless unless we know, for example, what sort of IT training was required (for example, was it job or IT system specific). Moreover the survey shows that people already in the workforce has higher training needs than school-leavers.
The good news (at least for job-seeking graduates and school-leavers) is that 51% of employers are concerned they will struggle to fill new posts in the period ahead.
Interesting to note, too, that the CBI members are stating a preference for business studies A-Level. In a poll of employers the A-levels most highly-rated for boosting a young person's job prospects were: business studies (42% of employers), maths (21%0, English (13%), and physics or chemistry (9%).
Employers did not rate highly psychology (3%) and sociology (1%).
Whether this is based on a real understanding of these subjects - or an out-of-date prejudice - is not clear.