Children should be taught skills to make them more employable from primary school age as part of an initiative to promote “employability” in schools, says a report released today by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC).

The BCC’s “Skills and Employment Manifesto” recommends schools be ranked in league tables based on their pupil’s employability rather than just on exam results.

Primary school teachers should be taught by their local chamber of commerce about the best ways to provide students with basic knowledge of how the employment world works.

In addition, schools should be encouraged to arrange visits to local businesses as well as museums and art galleries, argues the BCC.

John Wastnage, head of employment and skills at the BCC, said:

“There has never really been careers education in schools before. We’ve given pupils careers advice – and then only at 16. This is much more about preparing young people and giving them the knowledge of how the world of work works. Pupils could go on trips to local businesses in the same way as they go to museum and arts galleries.”

The report comes after concerns from employers over ‘unrealistic expectations’ in many young people, with some young people asking where they can take a nap when they start work or failing to turn up for job interviews.

Nora Senior, president of the BCC, said employers were concerned about “not just aptitudes but attitudes” – and called for emphasis on “softer” skills such as teamwork, willingness to learn and communications.

Photo by Ilmircrofono Oggiono