The 7 Skills We Should Teach in Technical Education
Posted by Bert Maes on May 18, 2010
We are far from recovery, but I believe it is smart to think today about what will happen in three years.
A new survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), among 694 employers, collectively employing over 2.4 million people, or 8% of all those in employment in the UK, has revealed that the demand for people with high-quality skills and qualifications will intensify.
The CBI report, entitled ’Ready to grow: business priorities for education and skills’ shows 7 clear priorities for technical education.
The past few years, employers just wanted to survive. Now step-by-step, our companies are focusing again on strategies that will improve their productivity and performance.
Employers recognize that all public spending will be under pressure in the years ahead. But, that is what makes it all the more important that resources should be used to best effect.
So what are the skills manufacturing companies are looking for to be able to continue to play a significant role in our economic recovery?
- Already today, 65% of the UK employers in manufacturing struggle to find the technical talent they need. 77% of the manufacturing employers are not confident of being able to recruit highly-skilled staff in the next three years. As a result the focus of education should be on intermediate and higher-level skills.
- Two thirds of the employers (65%) believe gaining practical work experience is the most valuable step young people can take to improve their prospects. 71% of businesses believe that providing high-quality practical education and work placement is the best strategy to help encourage STEM study.
- 70% of the employers want to see a stronger focus on employability skills. 57% of the surveyed people are unhappy with young people’s self management skills – being able to accept responsibility in the workplace and manage their time effectively. 68% of the employers are dissatisfied with young people’s business and customer awareness, i.e. having a basic grasp of customer satisfaction, profit and loss and other key drivers for business success. Also teamwork skills (34%) and problem solving (analyzing facts and creative thinking – 44%) are seen as major areas of dissatisfaction.
- 63% want to see improved essential skills of literacy and numeracy. Half of respondents express concern about the basic literacy skills (52%) and numeracy skills (49%) of their current workforce. These skills include composing coherent written communications, or working through basic arithmetic and percentages, such as calculating change or working out a discounted price. Concerns about IT skills are higher still, with 66% of the firms expressing concern.
- Achieving improved performance in business depends on leadership and management capabilities in an organization. 69% see better leadership and management skills as a strategic priority, with high growth expectations for these roles in the next three to five years.
- Over two thirds of the employers (71%) are not satisfied with the foreign language skills of young people and 55% perceive shortfalls in their international cultural awareness. The UK companies especially demand skills in French (49%), Mandarin/Cantonese (44%), German (34%), and Spanish (32%). Thus, the trend towards internationalization in technical education should be reinforced.
- Employers are ready to build partnerships with schools to achieve their long term goals. They especially are looking for cost-effective routes for delivering training, which include online programs, in-house training where possible, and especially specialized training focused on those areas and activities yielding the best return (pointing again for the pressing need of high-level skills taught in our education).
What are the subjects that would be most likely to lead to a job?
42% of the surveyed companies say young job seekers should pick business studies, while 21% suggest Maths was best for career prospects and 13% said English. Psychology and Sociology were at the bottom of the list of requirements.
>> Dear reader: my thesis is that manufacturing education should try to integrate the newest technologies, good maths, leadership skills and several languages. What is your take?