More than half of employers (53 per cent) rate vocational qualifications as more valuable than academic ones, a survey of businesses has discovered.
Meanwhile, 72 per cent of the 1,005 small, medium and larges enterprises questioned said that vocational qualifications were “essential” for improving the skills of young people, and 84 per cent believe that children must be exposed to the world of work while they are still at school.
The research has been conducted by Edelman Berland on behalf of the vocational education foundation Edge and awarding body City & Guilds.
Employers in the study came from a range of industry sectors including engineering, manufacturing, digital and health and social care, and all the respondents had responsibility for recruiting in their organisations.
The study also found that 83 per cent of employers believe young people need to be made more aware of the options available to them in order to progress to their chosen career, while 60 per cent said the government does not do enough to support vocational education.
The findings have been released in the run-up to the Skills Show, the world’s largest careers and skills event which takes place in Birmingham from Thursday to Saturday (November 14 to 16).
Chris Jones, CEO and director General at City & Guilds, added: “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 business. 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.”
Jan Hodges, CEO of the Edge Foundation, added: “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 full research report can be found at www.edge.co.uk/research
For more on the Skills Show, visit www.theskillshow.com