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Chambers Unveil Plan to Tackle Skills Mismatch

Margaret Corneby 2014To coincide with the start of the new school term, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has unveiled an ambitious plan to put thousands of young people in England directly in touch with local businesses, to improve the quality of careers advice they receive. Long-term trends show A Level and GCSE results continue to improve, but youth unemployment is almost three times the national average – possibly highlighting a mismatch between academic achievement and work readiness.

The Chambers of Commerce network, which covers the whole of the country, will run 250 career events, bringing together thousands of pupils, businesses, schools, colleges and training providers in order to address this issue and improve young people’s prospects for a successful career. The ‘Your Future’ programme of career events, supported by the Skills Funding Agency, will give 70,000 young people access to potential employers, showcase the range of career options open to them, and help them to plan their future to take advantage of these opportunities. It will also give businesses the platform to meet the employees of tomorrow and to talk about the skills and qualities they look for when recruiting.

Commenting, Margaret Corneby, Chief Executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce said:
“Our 2014 workforce survey showed us that 89% of Black Country businesses say that school leavers are not fit for work, Furthermore, using figures released by the CBI last year, we estimate that school underperformance is costing the Black Country £1 billion per year.

"To bridge the gap between the world of education and the world of work, we're putting together a programme that will break down barriers between pupils and businesses: We are inviting 1,200 14-19 year old students to three ‘Your Future’ Careers Fairs being run in December 2015, February 2016 and March 2016. Each Careers Fair will have interactive business led activities aimed at getting young people involved and excited about potential careers and help them find out how to follow those careers. In addition we will include a variety of workshops including employer talks, CV writing and employability skills.

"By connecting the employees of tomorrow with local businesses, we are helping each to improve their understanding of the other. That means young people will be better able to prepare for the careers they want – whether that is through an apprenticeship, further training or higher education - and businesses will have the chance to meet the talent they need to thrive and grow. This is a win-win scenario and we are confident that it will make a real difference to young people and businesses nationwide.”

The ‘Your Future’ programme is being supported nationally by the Skills Funding Agency.

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