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Opinion: Practice leader offers advice as results days loom

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Written by: Tim Lincoln | Posted 17 August 2017 13:04

Opinion: Practice leader offers advice as results days loom

WITH GCSE and A-level results just around the corner, young people and parents across the country will be anxiously awaiting the contents of those little brown envelopes and thinking about what this will mean for their future career.

In today’s increasingly competitive world, so much hinges on what grades a pupil achieves. But these results are not the only route to a successful career.

With increasing living costs and strains on time, more young people are looking to get into a skilled, practical role earlier to gain real-world experience.

They want to hit the ground running and start forging a career straight away.

While university remains the goal for those with the grades to get in, it’s not the only option for those school-leavers looking to develop a future career. With the ever-changing business world, there are now many new recognised options to support talent development and complement business needs.

Read more: New link road brings success

Apprenticeships, for example, have become a vital part of the economy and the employment market, and more school-leavers than ever before are opting to go down the practical training route.

It’s a well-versed view that we need to get our young people “business ready” faster and equipped with the relevant skills so that we can compete on the global stage. But, there is still more to be done.

The Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, which came into operation in April this year, requires large firms with an annual pay bill of £3 million or more to pay into a pot to fund more apprenticeship programmes.

Initiatives such as this will help to address the kinds of skills shortages that we are so used to hearing business leaders lamenting and goes some way towards supporting the development of our young people for the business world.

Despite these initiatives, businesses are still suffering from skills shortages, and thousands of young people (800,000 of them in the UK, according to the latest official Neet figures) are inactive.
Surely we need to do more to join the two? Companies should be able to access the skills and talent they require for business delivery and future growth, and equally our young people need to be given the support and opportunities to develop and thrive.

The Grant Thornton Vibrant Economy Index, released earlier this year, showed that the West of England has one of the most highly skilled workforces in the UK, yet there is a gulf of opportunity which Neets are missing out on. Bristol, for example, is faring worse than the national average (4.1 per cent) for Neets, at 5.7 per cent.

Read more: Bristol-based business funding company chosen to benefit from government scheme

The huge talent deficit that businesses face has come at a time when the human world and technological world are colliding more than ever. Many of the professions that our children will work in do not even exist today.

The subject of skills was top of the agenda at our Bristol Live Lab event in March this year, when more than 200 business and community leaders convened to share ideas and insight into how the West of England can do more to provide access to skills and allow talented people of all ages to fulfil their potential.

The very best firms are the ones that have a motivated, highly skilled and trained workforce, and it’s these talented people, with their desire and determination to learn, who hold the key to boosting businesses in the region.

Results day may still feel like “D-Day” for many young people, but as a business community we have to keep working on developing new, more diverse and inclusive pathways that reflect our modern society and business needs. The A* is no longer the only route to a successful career.

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