Commenting on October’s unemployment figures*, released this morning by the Office for National Statistics, George Cowcher, Chief Executive of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The fall in the number of JSA claimants across our two counties in October is welcome news, although perhaps unsurprising given that the traditional increase in seasonal contracts ahead of the Christmas period is now beginning to filter through.
“However, the increase in youth unemployment is a major worry. The most vital component of our economy is a first-class education system, yet the present system fails too many young people. We have those that have the education and skills that allow them to compete with an increasingly global workforce, and those that leave school with minimal or no qualifications and face a future of life trapped on welfare.
“We then have to spend billions of pounds a few years later providing them with basic employability skills to try and integrate them into the workplace and this is where big changes are needed.”
“Financial incentives alone are not enough”
Commenting on Business Secretary Vince Cable’s introduction of a package of measures to encourage companies to take on more young employees, Ian Greenaway, President of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Whilst providing financial incentives to encourage more businesses to take on apprentices and young employees between the ages of 16-24 is a positive step, it won’t be effective in isolation. More needs to be done to look at the skills gap and why so many school-leavers are considered unemployable.
“Most businesses are willing to take on young people who have potential and a willingness to work, but what they don’t want to do is employ people lacking basic skills and work ethic and unless urgent steps are taken to tackle this, the problem is only going to get worse.
“At present, schools are judged on their Ofsted reports by parents, by local education authorities and by Government, yet there is no criteria in the Ofsted inspection which looks at work preparedness. Unless schools are actively measured against how they prepare their pupils for the world of work, then it won’t take priority.
“One of my first actions as Chamber President will be to write to the Secretaries of State for Education and for Business, Skills and Innovation to challenge them to grasp the nettle by making it a requirement for schools and colleges to get their pupils workplace-ready.”
Member since: 10th July 2012
Hi, I'm Sarah. I've lived in Heanor with my family for over 10 years and I'm passionate about our beautiful little corner of this historical county. If you know of something that's great about our area,...