What employers want from young people

Many employers are citing young people’s lack of ‘work-readiness’ as a significant barrier to employment. To counter this challenge, the UK’s National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) has launched a new website.

Young school leaver at work
NIACE worked with 40 British and international corporations to develop the website called What Employers Want (www.whatemployerswant.org). It is designed to provide practical advice for young people of all ages and all skill levels who are preparing for the job market.The website features practical topics on how to complete application forms, prepare for job interviews and how to make progress within a career.

The 'must have' qualities and qualifications

The new website includes feedback from employers on the skills, qualifications and personal attributes they are looking for in young recruits. Qualities most valued by the companies are:
  • A positive attitude
  • Soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, time management, teamwork and an ability to work well under pressure
  • Good literacy, numeracy and information technology (IT) skills
  • Key qualifications or a commitment to boost qualifications
  • Experience of part-time jobs, work experience or volunteering
"Winning your first job is always tough, but this generation of young people have had it harder than most," said David Hughes, chief executive of NIACE."Qualifications, a positive attitude, willingness to learn and transferable skills are important to employers, but more importantly they want young people to bring fresh ideas and passion into their role. They are not expecting young people to be fully-developed and fully-skilled because they recognise that young people need time and opportunities to learn and grow. In fact, most welcome the opportunity to 'shape' young people."

The benefit for expatriate students

The What Employers Want website gives young people, wherever they may be living and learning in the world, insight into how to prepare for work in a British or multi-national company. For expatriate students who are used to globally diverse or international learning environments, this feedback, direct from employers, helps them to identify the skills most sought after if looking to work, train or apprentice in the UK.David Hughes told Re:locate, "We know that this website will be useful for those young people who currently live overseas but want to return to the UK to start their careers."For more Re:locate news and features about education, click here

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