By Daniel Hunter
UK employers are shunning traditional school qualifications according to new research from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). Just 22% of employers think qualifications are an important factor when considering who to hire while 88% focus on candidates’ skills.
The research findings substantiate the CBI’s First Steps report on school reform, which calls for the scrapping of GCSEs and the introduction of ‘gold standard’ vocational qualifications.
“The school curriculum has become far too narrow, not only in what is taught, but also how it is taught," Suzie Webb, Director of Education at AAT, said.
"The result is that many employers have moved away from using traditional qualifications such as GCSEs and A-levels as a measure of ability. Instead, employers are increasingly looking at delivering their own training.”
The report also found that:
• Over a quarter, 27%, of employers expect to increase training budgets next year;
• Nearly half, 44%, are expecting to increase in-house learning to fill perceived gaps in the school curriculum;
• The same percentage, 44%, would like training to focus more on podcasts and vodcasts, formats familiar to younger recruits;
• Nearly one in four employers, 38%, want to see more live e-learning, in which teachers and students can interact with each other online in real time.
“Generation Y has a strong grasp of digital technology and employers clearly recognise the value of delivering learning through these channels. Schools have invested in technology, but unlike businesses they have not yet determined how to use it for greatest effect," Suzie Webb continued.
“Unless the Government provides better guidance to help schools build courses in tune with students’ needs and abilities, our schools will deliver a generation of school leavers whose qualifications have little or no value to businesses.”
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