ATL comment on the skills emergency highlighted in a CBI/Pearson survey
Commenting on the skills emergency highlighted in a survey by the CBI and Pearson, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said:
“This is a damming survey from the CBI and Pearson. As ATL has long been arguing, the Government’s fixation with exams and tests is not something companies want and is not helping young people develop the skills businesses need. With businesses also strongly arguing the case for young people to have good communication skills and a better knowledge of the world outside school, we hope the Government finally starts paying attention.
“The CBI/Pearson survey has rightly highlighted the problems with careers advice which deteriorated when the Government pulled the plug on the Connexions service which supplied independent careers advice. Schools and colleges desperately need more help and support from business to give their students a better understanding about the world of work and careers options, so it is good to hear many firms are becoming more engaged with them.
“We share the CBI and Pearson’s concerns about the Government’s obsession with achieving three million more apprenticeships this parliament. If the Government seriously wants to improve the skills of young people and adults it would not be slashing the funding for FE colleges. This is not a policy based on sound evidence, but another ideological experiment to bring the free market into further education.
“A 157 Group report recently showed that FE colleges help generate £550m for their regional economy, that FE learners see an average 11.2 per cent return on their investment in terms of higher future earnings and that taxpayers receive a 12.3 per cent return on their investment in FE in terms of tax paid.
“The Government should look at the evidence, get its priorities right and help young adults get into work. It needs to stop wasting money on funding free school places where they are not needed and focus attention on FE because it provides vital education and training for adults.”