Do Your Students Have A Skills Gap?

Schools care about the welfare of their students. Above all, schools want them to thrive in the real world. To do this, they have to be prepared. If there’s a gap in the skills they need to get on in life, schools want to address it. With that in mind,  do you sometimes get surprised at the things students don’t know how to do? If so, you’re not alone.

Two of the biggest skills gaps have been identified by the Employer Skills Survey 2017 Report published this month. The first, technical expertise was perhaps an obvious contender, as such skills require job-specific training. However, people skills were also in short supply. In particular, the people skills of:

  • self-management
  • management and leadership
  • sales and customer handling.

People Skills

We all need self-management. If you can manage your time, your focus, your resources then you can be relied on to get a job done. As you then train others to manage their tasks, this can evolve into a leadership role.

Customers buy products if they can see their value. By that, I don’t mean how much they cost, I mean how the product can make their life better, e.g. save them time, make them feel good, etc. The customer is only going to get to know that information if the salesperson tells them. This means that how the salesperson tells them is essential for the sale. Therefore, it’s all about personal skills:

  • being able to listen
  • identifying the customer’s needs or concerns 
  • building a rapport

How Could You Fill The Skills Gap?

Clearly, if this expertise is lacking in the workforce, training is required and 63% of UK employers are expecting some of their staff to need new skills or knowledge over the next twelve months. Surprisingly, however, fewer days of training are being provided than in 2015. 

Youth Employment UK have said:

Young people are still reporting to us that they do not feel confident in their skills for work.

At what point will all young people feel that they can smoothly and confidently transition between education and employment?

We’ve identified the gap in skills. Clearly young people need a solid grounding in these. To facilitate this, could schools and employers provide these skills as part of social education classes or staff induction? It would seem like a perfect opportunity for some ’joined up thinking’  and could be promoted with Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) that already has a presence in schools and links to AGCC and employers.

Have you solved your students’ skills gap? Or, would your students benefit from some skill-specific training?

Preparing4Life provides many of the life skills that employers are looking for in potential staff. Look at the workshops page for more information.

Categories: Blog Posts

2 Comments

Stuart Irvine · September 30, 2018 at 12:03 pm

the most important skill that anyone should learn , and we all do it to a greater or lesser extent , is how to communicate : how to interact with our fellow human beings in every aspect of our daily living lives – whether with parents , school or the workplace .

    Mary McPhail · September 30, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    I agree – good communication is essential in all walks of life. A shame then that so many young people ‘message’ each other, rather than speak face to face.

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