Press release

Quarter of employers say school leavers lack the skills they need

18 August 2011


As students receive their A Level results, research shows that nearly one in four engineering employers do not believe that school leavers have the skills needed in the workplace.

The research, published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), shows that 23 per cent of employers find it difficult to recruit school leavers to engineering, IT or technical roles as they do not meet reasonable skill expectations.

The research also reveals only 12 per cent of new engineering and technology jobs that are planned over the next year will go to school leavers.

Gareth James, IET Head of Education, said: “I’d like to congratulate all the young people receiving their results today, which is the culmination of many years of hard work.  However, there is a clear need for young people not only to have the relevant qualifications but also the employability skills and practical experience that distinguishes them from their peers.

“Through our partnerships with education providers, businesses and Government, we are working hard to ensure that more young people have the right careers information to guide their choices and the opportunities to develop the skills required to enter the world of work.

“Apprenticeships provide an ideal alternative for those young people for whom university is not the right route for their training and development.  However, we need to see more available both for those students who have completed their level 2 qualifications such as GCSEs and those who have gone on to take level 3 qualifications such as A levels.  There also needs to be a higher proportion of apprenticeships offered in the science, technology, engineering and maths subjects."

The IET helps young people towards exciting careers in engineering and related fields, through a number of initiatives including the Faraday education programme, awarding £200,000 of scholarships and awards every year, resources for teachers, free magazines for schools, and working in partnership with others such as Education for Engineering (E4E).

Media enquiries to:

Robert Beahan
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7595 400912
Email: rbeahan@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • Expert spokespeople are available for interview and comment.
  • The IET is Europe’s largest professional body of engineers and technicians with over 150,000 members in 127 countries.
  • The IET is a leading source of impartial authoritative advice on the impact of engineering and technology on society.
  • For more information, visit www.theiet.org.