Maths lessons ‘failing to prepare pupils for world of work’

All pupils should be required to study maths up to the age of 18 amid fears GCSEs in the subject are failing to prepare children for the workplace, according to a major report.

Schools and colleges should provide an extra two years worth of teaching because too many teenagers struggle to use mental arithmetic, reasoning, spreadsheets and graphs in their everyday life, it was claimed.

The report – published by the Sutton Trust charity – said that a basic grounding in maths was a prerequisite for most careers, particularly finance, nursing, engineering, construction, transportation and retail.

But it warned that the modern application of the subject in the workplace was “not generally reflected in school mathematics”.

The study, which was carried out by academics from King’s College London, also revealed that children in England were significantly less likely to study maths up to the age of 18 than in many other countries.


Teenagers’ ‘mismatched’ job ambitions

There is a “massive mismatch” between young people’s career expectations and the reality of the jobs available, a major survey of teenagers suggests.

It highlights the need for better careers advice, says Nick Chambers, director of the Education and Employers Taskforce, which published the survey.

The study also indicates teenagers have a very weak understanding of potential earnings for different types of jobs.

There is a serious “information gap” for teenagers, says Mr Chambers.

Confederation of British Industry president Sir Roger Carr said the report showed industry had to do more to show young people the “requirements and opportunities” of the world of work.

New Employability Skills programme for Nationwide Education

With the on-going debate on the future of Careers Advice in schools never off the news agenda and a recent CBI survey reporting that 70% of employers want action to improve the employability skills among young people, Nationwide Education (produced by dbda ltd) have developed a comprehensive new Employability Skills programme for ages 4 to 16.

Read more of this post

CBI: Students want universities to better explain employability skills

The importance of students learning ’employability skills’ in the classroom was highlighted last week with the results of the latest CBI/National Union of Students Education & Skills survey.

Just over half of students surveyed (57%) said they want their university to do more to help them with employability skills – including numeracy, teamwork, self-management and business awareness.

The results showed that employability skills are “the single most important consideration for 82% of businesses when recruiting graduates. However 70% of employers said that university students need to do more to prepare themselves to be effective in the workplace.”

CBI Director for Education & Skills, Susan Anderson said, “Competition for jobs is intense and graduate unemployment remains high, so students need to proactively develop relevant employability skills. But at the same time all universities need to explain these skills better and make sure they embed them in teaching.”

Nationwide Education ( is currently developing an Employability Skills programme, due out this summer. It will focus on teaching all ages (in particular secondary school students and above) about the world of work, and the key employability skills they will need to enter it.

To read more about the CBI results you can view the press release here:

MG, Account Manager

Careers advice is failing a generation of school leavers

New research commissioned by Future First into social mobility and careers advice, has found that a generation of young people is being let down as a result of bad careers advice at school.

The poll, conducted by YouGov, revealed that 64% of adults said their school careers advisors had not been important in helping advance their careers and only 13% of young people said their careers advice had been important in helping them access a job.

The research also reveals the concerns of 16-19 year old students – 70% of whom believe it will be difficult to gain access to a good career and 39% who said they don’t know anyone with a career they would like to do.

Jess Cordingly, managing director of Future First said, “With youth unemployment at a record high and social mobility stagnating, this research is a wake-up call that should lead to meaningful change in the provision of careers advice.” She added, “Access to role models is key to social mobility and we are at risk of limiting the prospects of 600,000 young people this year alone, by not providing credible careers advice.”

Read the full report at Future First.

Nicki, Business Director

Top universities warn against ‘soft subjects’

A group of top UK universities has published guidance advising students to take traditional subjects at A-level.

The Russell Group warns students not to disadvantage themselves by picking the wrong subjects for their degree course.

It advises students to study at least two subjects from a list of “facilitating subjects” such as English and maths.

Otherwise courses at many competitive universities will not be open to them, it warns.

It is the first time the group of the UK’s 20 leading universities has published such all-embracing guidance on university entrance and course choice. Read more of this post

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