Monday, 19th April 2021

This Month's Magazine
Academic knowledge is not enough!

Academic knowledge is not enough!

Schools are failing to provide students with good employability skills according to some leading UK businessmen and a head teachers┬┤ leader has agreed that children need to leave school with the skills required for the workplace as well as knowledge. (Kathy Dancer)

Whilst employers do not expect potential employees to arrive on their doorstep ┬┤job ready┬┤ they do at least expect them to be literate and numerate and most businesses will often consider qualities such as problem solving, team working and time management to be as important as exams results and formal qualifications.ASCL (Association of School and College Leaders) president John Fairhurst said such skills should be recognised alongside GCSEs in England.

The call for more recognition of workplace skills was backed by Confederation of British Industry. Its chief policy director Katja Hall said: ┬┤Every school or college leaver needs the right skills, knowledge and attitude for success in today┬ĺs competitive workplace┬┤.

Recent school reform has failed to place enough emphasis on these skills and that is why there is now a call for the government to support the development of employability skills in the curriculum. In a critical report, a fifth of firms claimed they were required to ┬┤pick up the pieces┬┤ after children left school unable to perform everyday tasks. Research from the Confederation of British Industry found that lowlevels
of basic literacy and numeracy hindered workers┬ĺ ability to gather information from standard texts, compose coherent memos, work out price discounts in their heads or even calculate customers┬ĺ change.


Despite the recession, almost half of companies also said they still struggled to recruit well-qualified staff with skills in vital subjects such as science and mathematics.

The ASCL president said young people needed both knowledge and skills, and told members at his association┬ĺs conference in Manchester that the ┬┤dichotomy┬┤ between the two was ┬┤a myth┬┤. ┬┤Successful people have both and employers understand this. They want knowledge plus a variety of skills and attributes: teamwork, dependability, honesty, persuasion, genuine literacy and numeracy┬┤. He said that ASCL and the Confederation of British Industry agreed that ┬┤the bottom line is not test scores but what young people really know and can do when
they leave us┬┤.

Whilst many UK schools are preparing for a review of the National Curriculum and the introduction of a new English Baccalaureate, one International school in Spain is way ahead of its English counterparts. Students attending Mayfair International Academy have been offered a choice of curricula since 1997 and students who have embarked on the Sports Curriculum course have acquired workplace skills alongside the regular GCSE and A Level subjects. Alongside exercise and fitness knowledge, students also achieve qualifications such as technical certificates in Business and Marketing Skills, Employment Rights and Responsibilities and Training in Different Environments amongst others. These students not only leave school prepared for the workplace but they are much in demand with ex-Mayfair students now working in various Fitness Centres across the world and also aboard cruise ships as Fitness Instructors / Personal Trainers.

Mayfair Academy offers students a choice of curricula which even includes a Professional Football Training programme.

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