Colleges need to teach employability skills, says City & Guilds

Teaching employability skills in further education (FE) will help young people thrive in the jobs market, according to new research by City & Guilds.

The Learning to be Employable report recommends teens should be taught a core set of employability habits before they enter the workplace including self-belief, perseverance, resilience, curiosity, empathy, creativity and craftsmanship. 

The report was designed to highlight what can be done by educators, business and policymakers to ensure employability is better taught while young people are in education.

Other recommendations include establishing partnerships between employers and educators to share experiences and develop best practice methods, offering college staff more opportunities to learn about effective ways of developing employability habits.

It also recommends extending the national citizen service to the FE sector – raising it by one to two years (currently it’s 15–17) to ensure a wider age range benefit from these opportunities.

The report's authors also argue for the development of a common language to go beyond the vague term of “soft skills” – something that can be understood by everyone, from parents, learners and teachers to employers.

The report has been backed by several national employers including TUI, PGL and the National Grid.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, managing director at City & Guilds, said: “It’s great news that this research has debunked the myth of ‘you’ve either got it or you ain’t’. We now understand that it’s perfectly possible to teach young people the skills and characteristics they need to become employable. [Having] core employability skills is not only crucial for their futures but also for the UK’s economic and social prosperity.”

The research was conducted by Professor Bill Lucas and Dr Janet Hanson from the University of Winchester’s Centre for Real-World Learning. Read the full report here.