Pupils get boost to employability skills

Pupils from five schools in South East Wales took part in a day of activities to help develop their employability skills (Wednesday 21 January 2015).

Coming together as part of the first collaborative action event coordinated by Business in the Community’s South East Wales Business Class Cluster, 65 Year 9 pupils from Cathays, Cantonian, Fitzalan, Duffryn and Llanwern High Schools took part in a day of workshops and interactive sessions. The day was also supported by Careers Wales.

This is a fantastic example of the positive difference that businesses, working collaboratively, can make to young people and their future career and education prospects.

- Ciaran Leaden,
Lloyds Banking Group

The event focused on vital employability skills such as problem solving, communications, working in teams, IT, customer service, and time management, amongst many others.

Building skills

Recent research carried out by Development Economics indicates that across the UK, employability skills or ‘soft skills’ such as teamwork, communication and the ability to listen to and engage with a customer or client, contributes £88bn to the UK economy. This figure which is forecast to rise to around £109bn over the next five years.

According to the research, over half a million UK workers will be significantly held back by a lack of these soft skills by 2020.

Business in the Community’s Business Class programme provides a systematic and proven framework through which businesses can engage with schools and support young people into successful working lives by building their soft skills.

Business Class

The Business Class framework is rooted in the needs of the school and underpinned by strategic support and practical action.

Each three year partnership between a business and school is part of a small geographic cluster which provides an additional support network as well as facilities to share best practice, develop new ideas and collaborate.

The workshops were held at Lloyds Banking Group’s Contact Centre in Newport and led by employee volunteers from the companies comprising the South East Wales Cluster, including Lloyds Banking Group, Wales & West Utilities Ltd, Vinci Facilities Management, Marshalls and Arriva Trains Wales. Employees from BBI Group also supported the sessions.

Positive impact of businesses working collaboratively

Speaking about the event, Lloyds manager and chair of the local Business Class cluster Ciaran Leaden, said “We know from research that if young people experience four or more activities with business people whilst at school they are five times less likely to become NEET (not in employment, education or training).

“At today’s Employability Day, pupils met with five businesses all in one day! This is a fantastic example of the positive difference that businesses, working collaboratively, can make to young people and their future career and education prospects."

Commenting, Rosie Sweetman (Director of Business in the Community Wales), added:

“Employability skills are increasingly recognised as vital to the success of young people in their future careers.

Employability skills are increasingly recognised as vital to the success of young people in their future careers.

- Rosie Sweetman,
Director of BITC Wales

They are highly sought after by employers and by equipping the future workforce of Wales with these skills, responsible Welsh businesses are making a positive impact on the lives of young Welsh people and our nation’s future economic prosperity."

Take part

Business Class Clusters have been established in South East Wales and the Heads of the Valleys region. Business in the Community is currently establishing two additional clusters in Swansea and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Business in the Community is calling on businesses who want to support young people in their local schools and help address the challenges of upskilling the future workforce of Wales to sign up to Business Class.

Find out more about Business Class in Wales.