‘What Employers Want’ from young people

6 July 2015

The UK remains in the top five of OECD countries for youth unemployment, despite  the falling number of young people out of work. At the same time many employers cite lack of ‘work-readiness’ as a significant barrier to them employing a young person.

To counter these challenges, NIACE has worked with young people and around 40 employers – including Barclays, Spirit Pubs and Topps Tiles – to develop a new website What Employers Want. Launched today – Tuesday 7 July – for young people, and their learning providers, What Employers Want covers practical topics on how to complete application forms, prepare for job interviews and how to progress in careers.

The employers (who also include Manchester Digital Laboratory and Sureline Support) who worked with NIACE on What Employers Want discuss what they think about young people, what they are looking for in a young person and how important qualifications and experience are. In particular they focus on how and why young people will have the best chance to a great start to their career if they have:

  •     a positive attitude;
  •     ‘soft skills’ such as communication, problem-solving, time management, teamwork and show how they can work well under pressure;
  •     ‘hard skills’ with a high value on literacy, numeracy and IT skills;
  •     key qualifications or a commitment to boost their qualifications; and
  •     experience of part-time jobs, work-placements or work-experience or volunteering.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“Winning your first job is always tough, but this generation of young people have had it harder than most.   What Employers Want  gives young people – and learning providers – unique insight into how to prepare – whether it’s for a full or part-time job, for an Apprenticeship or Traineeship.

“Qualifications, a positive attitude, willingness to learn and transferable skills are important to employers but more importantly they want young people to bring fresh ideas and passion into their role. They are not expecting young people to be fully-developed and fully-skilled because they recognise that young people need time and opportunities to learn and grow. In fact, most welcome the opportunity to ‘shape’ young people.

This website should encourage learning organisations to work more directly with employers so that they can meet more young people who are ‘job ready’. It’s tough getting your first job, but this resource will help young people prepare themselves for a long, invigorating and successful working life.”

Commenting on the company’s involvement in What Employers Want, John Shaw, Learning and Development Manager at Topps Tiles, said:

“We’re delighted to have been involved in the What Employers Want initiative and to have been able to provide young people with valuable insight and advice on everything from applying for work and job interviews, through to details on the vital skills needed on every step of the journey.

“We understand that it can be difficult for young people looking for job placements and as a responsible employer, which is committed to providing opportunities to up-skill and develop their careers, we offer a range of apprenticeships as well as in-store or head office roles.

“Our colleagues are at the heart of everything we do and we’re committed to providing them with opportunities to develop their careers through a number of methods including internal and external training courses.

“Young people looking for a career should choose one that will provide them with the support and the crucial skills they need to become part of a motivated and highly qualified team.”