Education doesn't prepare for employment - Business Works
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Education doesn't prepare for employment

Roxanne Stockwell Principal, Pearson College New data show that new employees share their employers’ concerns about how education has not prepared them for the modern workplace.

The new research, conducted alongside the annual CBI/Pearson business survey [PDF], found that many new starters felt unprepared for the world of work:

  • Over 70% of those felt they lacked relevant work experience;
  • Nearly a third of new starters (31%) thought they did not have the appropriate work skills when they started their first full-time role;
  • 40% did not feel enough time and attention was given to employability at school, university or college.

The results are released as Pearson and Ashridge Business School announce a new partnership to address the gap between graduate employability and industry needs, offering business degrees in the UK and a suite of innovative undergraduate programmes in 2014.

"Between Pearson and Ashridge we have what could well be one of the best networks of corporate relationships in the world", said Roxanne Stockwell Principal of Pearson College. "This partnership allows us to take that and translate it into benefits for our students."

businesses must play a greater role in developing the talent of young people

This answers a demand highlighted in the annual business survey, showing that more than nine out of ten employers (93%) believe that businesses must play a greater role in developing the talent of young people.

The survey of 294 firms, employing 1.24 million workers, found that the top priority in this new approach is ensuring that qualification design and outcomes are based around employers’ needs and industry standards (80%).

"The survey of new starters shows that there is a pressing need for higher education to link more closely to the professional world," continued Roxanne. "High academic standards are vital and our students will study many traditional business subjects as part of their degree, but this is not enough on its own. Our survey and the wider Pearson/CBI survey, demonstrate that corporate engagement and the chance to develop a sophisticated understanding of the modern business world are also crucial. It is not a question of choosing one or the other – both are essential."

"The new programmes will develop graduates with the knowledge and skills that businesses are calling for and give students practical experience of applying management theories in areas such as marketing and finance," commented Kai Peters, Chief Executive of Ashridge Business School. "By ensuring students have experience in the corporate sphere and well-honed soft-skills, we are developing practicing managers at a younger age and boosting graduate employability."

"Our students have mentorships, internships and talent development alongside their more traditional classes," continued Roxanne. "A number are already completing internships at the FT, Fox Studios, Holiday Extras and Pearson, and our students even won the UK round of the L’Oreal Brandstorm Competition – seeing off teams from places like Cambridge, Durham and Exeter."

The programmes will be delivered by Pearson College, validated by Ashridge Business School, and designed by both along with a network of other industry partners such as L’Oreal, BT, Cisco, the Peter Jones Foundation and Sony Pictures.

Students on the new degrees will attend regular weekly lectures and seminars in London, experience corporate engagement at Pearson HQ, and have the chance to attend conferences and residential stays at Ashridge, including an executive education module specially designed for final year honours students.

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