Celebrating the talent and hard work of young people

Only if we come together will we make the most of the talent and hard work of the young people getting their results today, says Rachael Saunders, Education Director at Business in the Community 

Huge congratulations to the thousands of young people receiving their A level results today, to those getting GCSE results next week, and to those in Scotland who received their results a couple of weeks ago! Enormous hard work goes into achieving those grades. Teachers, parents, maybe even siblings – it takes a village, and this moment is one to celebrate. If you got the grades you hoped for, wonderful, if you didn’t, take a deep breath, there are lots of options open to you.  

Whichever route you take, business leaders want you to succeed and reach your potential. At Business in the Community, we and our member organisations are passionate about education. Our mission is for business to play its part so that every young person, particularly those facing social disadvantage, achieves in education, leading to a successful working life, thriving in business.There is a lot of great work being done by many young people and those supporting them, including business, to build the skills Britain needs. But we still need to do more.

Government can also play its part, working with business on curriculum content and school improvement, and to value the contribution that schools make to young people’s skills, as well as their knowledge. High quality skills are critical to social mobility. With teachers under pressure from an inspection framework focused on knowledge, and school budgets squeezed, business has a vital role in making sure that children have the skills they need to succeed in the world of work.  

Skills matter
Skills really matter. However according to the CBI Pearson’s Education and Skills Survey (2017) well over half of businesses (61%) are not confident there will be enough people available in the future with the necessary skills to fill their high-skilled jobs. Essential skills, STEM skills, literacy and numeracy are vital to young people’s futures, with employers facing serious skills shortages - 55% of businesses believe that a lack of candidates with the appropriate qualifications are a main cause of the skills gap (CBI Pearson’s Education and Skills Survey 2017). 

Business/school partnerships are key to equipping young people with the skills they need to succeed at work.  The Business Class framework, structured around four pillars; Leadership, Curriculum, Enterprise and Employability and Wider Issues; is invaluable in structuring collaboration between a school and a business.  

Businesses supporting education 
There are lots of examples of where business support for education has made a real difference. SkillsBuilder, supported and championed for example by UBS, is an amazing tool, developed by Enabling Enterprise, there for teachers, business volunteers and others to use to teach young people the essential skills they need to succeed. BP and others do great work with STEM Learning Ltd to support teachers as part of Project ENTHUSE, developing their skills and knowledge, and supporting teacher retention

National Numeracy Day, founding supporter KPMG, is a brilliant initiative to demonstrate the vital importance of numeracy, and sign post to practical support.  

Hogan Lovells supports girls at their Business Class partner school, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson in Islington, with oracy and public speaking as well as employability skills.  

These are just a few examples – there is much much more going on. Today, thousands of bright, hardworking and talented young people are taking the next step towards their future careers. It is only if we work together that all young people in future will have the skills needed to succeed in the rapidly changing future of work.