The UK’s education system should better prepare young people for the attitudes and skills they need to succeed in the world of work, according to a business survey.

This year’s CBI/Pearson Education and Skills survey of 291 companies revealed that 61% of employers were concerned about the resilience and self-management of school leavers, and a third said they doubted leavers’ attitude at work.

By contrast, almost all firms surveyed (96%) were satisfied with young peoples’ IT skills.

John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, said:

“Businesses feel very strongly that the education system must better prepare young people for life outside the school gates, or risk wasting their talents.

“The journey from school towards the world of work can be daunting, so we must support schools and teachers to help develop the skills, character and attitudes students need to progress in life.”

85% of businesses want primary schools to focus on developing literacy and numeracy with around a third not satisfied with these skills among school leavers.

Meanwhile, half are urging schools to develop a greater awareness of working life among 14-19 year olds with support from businesses.

Companies even said they were prepared to play a larger role in the school careers system, with two-thirds willing to engage more with education.

Rob Bristow, president of Pearson Core Markets, said:

“The challenge now is to grasp the nettle so we bring employment and education opportunities together to meet the urgent social and economic need of creating a more highly-skilled workforce.”

Image by Lauren Manning