On the 22nd May, the Regional Developing the Young Workforce team brought together industry, young people, educators and careers advisers for a one day conference focusing on Work Readiness. Exploring what it means, how can young people get work ready and how can we all be involved.
The conference kick started with some words from Michelle Fenwick, DYW Regional Programme Director, Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian; ‘Today is not about waiting for opportunities to land on your lap, it is not about waiting for work ready young people to land on the doorstep of your workplace and it’s not about somebody else’s job, today is about a team effort – everyone being involved, we all have our own work ready story, it’s time to support young people to create theirs’
A definition was identified to bring all delegates on the same page when talking about work readiness. Broadly, work readiness can be defined as young people possessing the skills, attitude and attributes that make them prepared or ready for success in the work environment. It was emphasized that Employers discuss it in the context of their preferences for the skills and qualities they look for when recruiting young people, skills for work readiness are also referred to as employability skills and work readiness is non-sector specific and different from job readiness which describes the readiness for a particular job.
These skills, attributes and attitudes – what are they?
Our research, which draws on multiple studies, tells us that employer’s value commitment to work and willingness to learn along with arrange of soft skills when employing young people.
The main findings were;
Skills, attitude and attributes were explored and the challenges young people face when working towards being work ready along with what employers think can help young people in developing these skills.
Young people may ask - I have the skills, attributes and attitude – is it enough to get me an interview?
Our research identified that Exam Results and Qualifications are still used by a majority of employers in the recruitment process.
While employers are able to agree on the importance of skills, attributes and attitude for work readiness the first step in most recruitment processes is to demonstrate these through an application form alongside experience and exam results/qualifications. More than 75% of jobs targeted at young people over the last year have stated National 5 in Maths and English as a basic requirement. Through our research employers noted that when there are large pools of candidates, exam results and qualifications are an easy method for shortlisting.
The workshops on the day focused on how we can all work together to overcome these challenges, through industry and education partnerships, employers developing ways to allow skills, attributes and attitude to be recognised through the recruitment process
and educators empowering young people to understand and articulate their skills by delivering the career education standards. For the young people at the conference they had the opportunity to develop an understanding of skills and how to build their brand through learning opportunities.
The conference closed with some words from John Loughton of Dare2Lead, and a reminder that we are best placed to develop others when we develop ourselves.
A call to action to #CreateDontWait with a campaign running through June ensures the learning and momentum from the day continues. To find out more about our campaign and to get involved please just get in touch.