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Do schools prepare pupils for the world of work?

A few weeks ago my 9-year-old daughter skipped home from school with an application form for the position of “Lunchtime buddy” – the job role consists of helping the younger kids zip up coats, peel oranges etc. It is a very popular position with the Year 5s as they get the glory of wearing a high visibility jacket and going for lunch break half an hour before the rest of the class, hence there were 30 applicants for 5 positions. This got me thinking as I helped Emily write why she should be considered suitable. Do schools sufficiently prepare pupils for the world of work and the process of actually landing a job in the first place?

We thought we would ask the question to some of our clients and candidates.

33% said yes and 67% said no.

There was lots of interesting feedback; some clients think that school leavers are very ill prepared for life in general, not just the workplace. A strong opinion was that too much emphasis is placed on university and exam grades rather than the basics of life such as preparation, appearance, work ethic and the importance of punctuality. One client even said they wouldn’t take on school leavers due to their perceived behaviour. So it would seem that schools, in general, are not doing enough to make pupils leave school with common sense and willingness to get stuck into some hard graft.

Thinking back (a long time ago) to when I left school, I reflect on long, tedious lessons learning the Pythagoras Theory….. Hmmm – have I ever used these skills?! Perhaps a lesson on interest rates and how they will affect my mortgage may have been a better lesson learned! From our candidate feedback, it seems that many of them agree that there should be far more than just 1-2 weeks work experience with more choice and more exposure. One candidate suggested that guest speakers could visit schools to help motivate pupils and that careers advisors should be available for advice and to give guidance. Perhaps mock interviews could be set up? Surely this would be easy to implement?

So in conclusion it seems that if your goal is to achieve good grades and head off to university then schools seem to be hitting the mark, for those who wish to seek a more vocational career or prefer to gain work experience and work their way up then far more can be done to help. Anyway, back to my daughter, after an interview with the Head of Year and the School Prefect she is now enjoying her position as a lunchtime buddy. All she wants to know now is when payday is!

Annabel Lewis

By Annabel Lewis

A proven recruitment expert. Working within recruitment since 2004 with a wide a range of clients across Leeds, from start-ups to multi nationals. Recognised for the hiring of office based, management and engineering roles.
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