The importance of literacy skills and how they impact employability
Good literacy skills are essential for young people to achieve their educational and employment aspirations. Yet many young people in the UK don't have the literacy skills they need to enter the workplace and fulfil their potential. Average literacy scores are now lower among 16-24 year olds than for all adults aged 16-65 in the UK.
Employers are also noticing the skills gap of school leavers, with 32% of employers reporting dissatisfaction with young people's literacy levels and 15% providing remedial literacy training to school leavers. With a fifth of 18 to 24-year-olds not in full-time education, employment or training (NEET), this is becoming a national priority.
Compulsory work experience has recently been abolished, which means that many children do not get the opportunity to visit a workplace whilst at school to help them formulate their employment aspirations. Nearly half of children as young as 10 or 11 (45.1%) are concerned about their future employment options and are unsure of the skills they need to secure the job they want. Teachers share this concern with young people; many are concerned that they are not given the opportunity to use employment and real-life scenarios as a way to teach and assess literacy.
We need to do more to help close the gap between what children learn in their formal education and what skills businesses need for their future employees to give children and young people the best possible chance in life.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Literacy recently held a commission into youth literacy and employability with the National Literacy Trust. The commission called for stronger partnerships between business and education, as well as an increase in supply of opportunities for young people to work with employees to develop realistic employment aspirations.
You can read more about this important matter and learn more statistics like the above in the National Literacy Trust's Youth Literacy and Employability report.