English and maths skills among school leavers are not up to scratch

According to a new report, ‘Making maths and English work for all’, from the Education and Training Foundation, over three-quarters of employers think that action is needed to improve maths and English skills among young people.

The survey of 1,400 employers, learners and training organisations, found that many employers had trouble finding suitable candidates, as many young employees had “difficulties constructing emails, use text speak rather than properly constructed sentences, and had poor spelling and communication skills.”

The findings raise concerns that current qualifications do not give pupils the practical and relevant skills needed for the workplace.

David Russell, CEO at the Education and Training Foundation said: “Everyone knows – or thinks they know – what a GCSE in maths or English stands for. But other qualifications exist too, and are increasingly common post-16. Employers care about the quality of maths and English skills people have, not just the qualification. They told us about the type of knowledge and skills which hold real currency and support the success of their businesses. Nearly half of the employers we surveyed told us they recognised Functional Skills, and most of those who did so valued them for their content and approach.”

Nick Boles, the skills minister, added: “This report finds the current Functional Skills system is generally serving its purpose, and reflects the Government’s commitment to ensure all adults have the opportunity to study English and maths. I welcome the new evidence provided by the Foundation and its recommendations for improving the quality and recognition of Functional Skills to ensure they meet the needs of employers and learners, as well as improving understanding of all English and maths qualifications outside of GCSE.”