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3 Keys to Improve Employability

Who’s Helping Young People Focus?

It might sound simple to answer the question but like any, it has to be answered in context. So, “Focus for or on what?” is, for instance, a good question to consider.

If I said “Focus for life, their life” then the context is suddenly quite big and important not just to the young person, but parents, teachers, service providers, politicians, employers, business owners …. in fact anyone who lives in the same environment. Now it gets interesting.

If you think about it, and we hope that’s what governments do, having a young person that’s contributing to society is in everyone’s interest. Over time they will grow and be more experienced, more useful to an employer or leap into being an employer and add even more to society. So how do we achieve that? Well it starts with an education and developing the tools that are useful for their future. Does it?

The Big Question

What’s the purpose of education? To answer that, assuming education is an early stepping stone to something then it’s easier to look at what happens after education. That’s not difficult to answer as everyone needs to be employed and have the means of supporting themselves through life.

Who’s Helping Young People Focus? By Neville Gaunt CEO Mind Fit
So unless you’re in education and would like to offer an alternative purpose let’s make the

assumption that education is preparing people for work. So what’s actually happening? What happens in 1 Million Minutes?

If there is an established education system a young person will spend about 1 Million Minutes in lessons – primary, junior, secondary education up to 18 years old. That’s 14 years, 40 weeks a year, 5 days a week and 6 hours a day.

The focus during most of that time is on academic qualifications. Some systems thankfully do recognise not everyone is academically inclined and there are options – vocational studies – which have become generally known in the UK as apprenticeships.

Now digging a little deeper, what percentage of this 1 Million Minutes is productive? Where real learning happens and improvements are made? Are all students engaged in all lessons? In a well- disciplined environment where students are engaged and settle in quickly to each lesson there will likely be under 10% wasted – “Behavioural WasteTM”. What about where behaviour is a problem? Are all teachers great teachers so students get more of the 1 million minutes being engaged, productive and achieve? Only you might know the answer to that!

What happens later? After the 1 Million Minutes up to 18 years old then Further or Higher Education calls and 50% of UK students now go to university. Yet after 3 years at university less than 50% of those that get degrees get what is known as a ‘graduate job’. Many go back and take an apprenticeship programme putting pressure on those choosing the apprenticeship route in the first place. Does that even sound right?

This short video by Sir Ken Robinson explains more as to the Paradigm Shift needed in Education : hopefully it makes you think! You’ll need speakers to get the best effect.

Education is important but whatever is taught in education, it hasn’t changed much in 40 years. As a school/college governor plus my children have taught me that apart from technology, my days preparing for university are not that different. But it was a hugely different world then – 3% went to university, there were lots of jobs, computer technology in its infancy and I’m sure you can add a whole lot more to that list.

BUT – 1975 was also a long time ago and since then the world has changed and it has created a bigger gap in what businesses want and education is providing. Not least technological and cultural shifts have considerably impacted the labour market but someone hasn’t noticed it!

What Do Businesses Want?

If you Google ‘employability skills’, or look at any paper or magazine you will soon track down exactly what businesses want. All business leaders are saying the same thing, and interestingly although the jobs have obviously changed the people wanted to fill them hasn’t changed much. Reed International canvassed their clients and the following resulted:

Who’s Helping Young People Focus? By Neville Gaunt CEO Mind Fit

  • 96 percent of employers would hire someone who did not have a complete set of skills but displayed the right attitude over an applicant with the perfect skills but who lacked the right mindset.
  • Two thirds of employers said if they had to reduce their workforce they would fire someone with a perfect skills set over someone with deficient skills but sporting the right attitude.taken from this link.Businesses still want people with the right attitude as they know that if you’ve the right attitude you’ll be passionate, determined, keen to learn…and more so in fact you’ll have the employability skills they want. That business requirement hasn’t changed in years.

    Here’s a definition

What are Employability Skills ?

A set of attributes, skills and knowledge that all labour market participants should possess to ensure they have the capability of being effective in the workplace – to the benefit of themselves, their employer and the wider economy

  • The Gap is ‘Obvious’

    “Unlike subjects as Maths, English, Science, Languages… that are taught weekly and some daily, the employability skills which have this effect

    … to the benefit of themselves, their employer and the wider economy

    rarely get much of a look in.”

Who’s Helping Young People Focus? By Neville Gaunt CEO Mind Fit

Throughout a secondary education of 7 years, students may experience:-

  • 1 or 2 days employment related skills (teamwork, leadership, communication)
  • 1 or 2 weeks work experience (if they are very lucky)
  • Academic project work (STEM examples)
  • Enterprise day, Young Enterprise, Duke of Edinburgh Awards (very rare)and this hardly scratches the surface of such an important personal development that’s fundamental to the their future and that of the wider economy.What’s The Solution? The 3 Keys

    Now it should be said that many colleges and universities are desperately trying to fill the Gap, and they give CV writing skills, interview skills and some business networking. But this focus is on yet more knowledge input and very little if any soft skills development that will make the difference.

    So to the 3 Keys that any young person needs to be more employable are:

  1. Financial Acumen – the value of money, profit, cash and how to budget
  2. Marketing Prowess – marketing yourself, being an ambassador for your employer, being an entrepreneur
  3. Right Mindset – think, engage, communicate, be purposeful, a team player

These are the same 3 Keys in many respects that will underpin business success and you read more about that here Business Success

“Are these worthy of including in the curriculum and be like a Maths or English lesson? Timetabled and a regular programme? We think so but that’s for you to answer.

Until that happens what can be done?
Who’s helping Young People Focus?

Parents with children – encourage them to join the Scouts or Guides or similar organisations. Do anything they can to get experience of society, what makes people tick, and the different motivations we all have. It’s not just money that makes us smile. If we at Mind Fit can help, we will so ask us.

Employers who want to help – get engaged with your local schools, colleges and universities. Be active and give a little back. We can help if you really want to join in.

Education – schools, colleges, universities, Teachers, Principals and Heads – see what can be done by Clicking here and talk to us as we have a number of solutions.

Who’s Helping Young People Focus? By Neville Gaunt CEO Mind Fit

Governments, Businesses – talk to us if you want a workforce that is :

  • able to think flexibly and appropriately
  • emotionally competent and resilient
  • driven with a real sense of purpose
  • able to connect meaningfully with othersAnd yes it’s a choice – what’s yours?All the Best
    Neville Gaunt
    PS you can give young people this tool to assess their own attitude – it’s free!

www.mindfitltd.com 

Follow Neville on Twitter @NevilleGaunt