'˜Employers and universities must join forces to prepare graduates for work'

YORKSHIRE's employers and universities must join forces to prepare graduates for the world of work, according to a new study.

Roxanne Stockwell, Principal of Pearson College London,

Three quarters of businesses in Yorkshire expect their need for high-level skills to increase in the next three to five years, according to the 2017 CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey by Pearson College London.

However, 61 per cent are concerned that they will be unable to recruit candidates with the right skills.

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The survey of 120 Yorkshire companies highlights the importance of graduates to the region’s economy.

Most businesses give a positive evaluation of graduate applicants’ basic skills and general readiness for employment.

Three quarters (74 per cent) of businesses were satisfied with graduates’ communication skills, while 77 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with their team-working skills.

However, the report also found that 39 per cent of employers are not satisfied with the level of business and customer awareness displayed by graduates they have hired.

A third (32 per cent) were unhappy with graduates’ attitudes, behaviour and resilience in the workplace, the survey found.

Thirty one per cent of employers were also dissatisfied with the amount of practical work experience their graduate recruits had gained before joining their firm.

The survey, compiled before the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April, found that 95 per cent of businesses are now participating in apprenticeship schemes, above the national average of 83 per cent.

Roxanne Stockwell, the principal of Pearson College London, said: “The Yorkshire economy’s continued demand for high-level skills is welcome news – laying strong foundations for future economic growth. However, the fact that businesses fear that there will be a lack of sufficiently skilled people to fill these roles, should be a wake-up call for universities and higher education organisations. There is clearly potential for the higher education sector and businesses to work more closely together and deliver degrees that are designed and delivered in partnership with the world of work in mind.”