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NOW CLOSED: Talk work experience experiences and views with Barclays: one MNer will win a £200 JL voucher

(81 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-May-13 10:34:15

You may have seen something about it already - but if not then we'd like to introduce, LifeSkills created with Barclays. This new programme is being supported by Mumsnet and is designed to help get one million young people ready for work by 2015.

For loads more info click here.

Barclays want to know from you:

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

Let us know your thoughts on this thread - everyone who adds a comment will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £200 John Lewis voucher

Thanks
MNHQ

Also - for another chance to win that voucher, please share on this thread if you do anything to support the LifeSkills programme - eg if you share it with your school, with another parent, with your employer, or with your company etc.

Tyranasaurus Mon 20-May-13 13:23:43

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

Life skills, how to budget, how to act professionally. I don't know if they're taught now

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

They weren't the kind of thing I was taught at school. I think that young people today have more of a sense of entitlement and expect to be able to live in a fancy flat with a car, nice clothes, going out etc whereas when I started out I was happy to be renting a room in a dodgy area and a bottle of cheap wine at the weekend

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

Don't work too hard! If you finish all your work they'll just give you more and none of the other employees will like you.

Skills that young people need:
-How to present yourself at interview and at work.
-timekeeping, reading timetables.
-Adapting language to company (don't talk to potential employers as you would to your friends).
-Budgeting a monthly salary wisely
-Networking and getting on with colleagues.
-How and when to complete tax returns and how to keep accounting records.
-Reading between the lines of job adverts.
-Writing an effective CV, making use of social media profiles to improve job prospects.

I think today's young people are more attuned to the requirements of the workplace, as competition for jobs is fierce. When I was younger, if I wanted a job (or even an additional job), I would just drop my CV at a few places and have secured a job within the day. That is impossible for most young people today.

I help my DCs prepare for the world of work by teaching them how to budget, how to invest, and how to record money coming in and going out.

PostBellumBugsy Mon 20-May-13 14:17:09

What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
Qualifications are still really important. Good communication skills are vital, so knowing how to be polite, how to look someone in the eye, how to dress appropriately (as you communicate by how you look too). Broader experience is good too, so doing extra curricular activities: DofE, Scouts, Guides etc all helps build confidence.
I think some young people are taught useful skills for the workplace, but I'm sure the coverage is patchy.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I received the most dreadful careers advice at school & no one showed me how to put together a CV or anything remotely useful - BUT - I think that even back in the 1980s there was still a more respectful culture, where young people knew how to show respect to older people. That is possibly what has slipped alot for some young people now.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
Talk less! wink

alreadytaken Mon 20-May-13 15:49:26

link blocked by my security software, therefore I don't know what type of young person it's aimed at. Assuming it's the hard to place then

how to dress for an interview and for work
punctuality and the importance of good timekeeping
being polite and respectful but not servile
the value of voluntary work in providing references and contacts
how to present what you have done in a positive way
to value but not over value what you have done - managed expectations
how to claim benefits while you look for work
how to find help with e.g. travel to work
how to budget once in work
employment rights and how to enforce them
that if you do the minimum necessary your employer will not promote you and may fire you

I wish I'd known that presentation is often more important than content

PostBellumBugsy Mon 20-May-13 16:34:06

Sorry, thought of a bit more.

The website is good. Clear & easy to navigate. As ever, I think the young people who need the advice given the most, will be the least likely to look at the website.

Are Barclays planning to take this around schools?

eatyourveg Mon 20-May-13 16:46:48

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
Money management - ie similar to the units that are covered in the PSD foundation employability qualification eg different types of finance, understanding misleading marketing etc
Basic grammar - letter writing may seem old fashioned but being able to speak and write coherently is crucial for a successful career.
Work experience opportunities - helps students get a taste of different careers and may really spur on reluctant learners if they have a successful placement

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
Yes things have definitely improved, there was no work experience when I went to school
No it has not got any better - students are less able to write and there is an increasing culture of entitlement so students are not as willing to be flexible and this has a knock on effect in their ability to work as a team

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
Money management

CMOTDibbler Mon 20-May-13 18:23:47

I don't interact that much with people in their first job, but DH meets a lot of them and he sees that many are unprepared to get things right first time (they are shocked that they don't get to do the tests again if they fail in their basic training for instance), in writing basic letters - not in txt speak for instance, and in taking responsibility for what they do. Not getting their parent to call in about things!

They also see a lot less willingness to take entry level jobs.

I was lucky in having parents that made me go and work pt from the age of 13 - I was responsible for getting jobs and working hard through school, sixth form and uni. When I got my first real job, I was well prepared to deal with office politics and had a sense of showing the commitment and flexibility. And knowing that I was the most junior and to get on with things!

headlesslambrini Mon 20-May-13 18:29:04

What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
- communication - it's amazing how many still want their mum's to ring up for them and find it difficult to maintain eye contact with people.
- spelling - they need to know that 'text' speak is not acceptable when writing a professional CV / Email
- a little bit of get up and go - how to show a little bit of enthusiasm would be good
- career management planning - how to set a realistic goal and the steps needed to achieve it.

Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

- no, much worse. Access to a professionally qualified careers person is dependent on whether or not the school has bought anything in. In some schools this is unlikely as they were not given any additional money in order to do this. This can mean that they get nothing in relation to how to produce a CV, how to write an application form to get the interview, how to prep for an interview.
- you can't simply get your local paper on 'jobs night' and go through it, it is much harder I think with the internet. At least then, they were pretty much all in one place but now they have to hunt for them on individual websites but the trouble is Young people don't know this and a lot of their parents have been in jobs or careers for a number of years and don't know this either.

And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
- just how much things like reliability, confidence, how to talk to people, teamwork etc get's you on in your career.
- networking - this gets you the next contract / job / promotion. Don't underestimate it.

headlesslambrini Mon 20-May-13 18:31:36

sorry - forgot to say that I work within secondary education - careers, so could support, providing it goes through management <rolls eyes>

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
- After running a series of recruitment drives and interviews, it became obvious very early on that these young people need to learn how to put a CV and cover letter together and how to come across professionally in an interview.
Learning by rote is not enough, there needs to be more hands on application. Maybe doing research/applying for work experience roles within school hours in a 'real life' scenario, rather than a placement.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
Attitudes to school and work were better. Teachers were trusted members of society and you wouldn't dream of being cheeky to them.
Teachers should be given more power to conduct their classrooms, but they have to earn this power first.
I also think that you shouldn't be allowed to be a teacher of high school etc until you're a bit older. There's so many people going into schools with no life experience or ability to hold their own.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
Stay confident. Don't let little niggles get you down.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-May-13 20:12:28

headlesslambrini - do let us know what your "management" think - do free feel to share the main Barclays LifeSkills website link with them - there is more info there for teachers specifically and how they can get involved.

PostBellumBugsy - again have a look at the link - there are lots of opportunities for schools to find out more.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-May-13 20:12:50

thanks for all the feedback so far...

alreadytaken Mon 20-May-13 21:17:09

forgot to answer the Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

We had a careers adviser but they only ever suggested two things, neither of any interest to most of the pupils. Young people now are encouraged to think about a wider variety of options, even if they have to do the work themselves. So things have improved a little there.

I didn't have as much trouble finding work, Saturday jobs seem harder to come by and more dependent on who you know. However if you do get one there is a minimum wage, I was paid at slave labour rates. We didn't have work experience but we could have jobs.

Young people who were not academically minded could leave school and get work. They had pride in earning money and being "adult" when others were studying. I think it's worse today as we force them to stay in school and then tell them the jobs they can get are not worthwhile. We should go back to valuing those who work hard and take pride in doing their job well, regardless of the nature of that work.

I've now managed to take a quick look at the website from the most recent link. I didn't think it has enough about how to identify what jobs you might realistically get with your skills and how you can improve your skills other than at school but that may just be that I haven't looked hard enough.

BreatheandFlyAway Mon 20-May-13 21:20:16

What young people can be well grounded on before entering the workplace: the ability to compete maturely and negotiate intelligently.

I think we have missed a step here: pupils are not taught how to make that leap from failure to continuing to try with renewed determination. How to learn from mistakes.

Things weren't better or worse in my day, they were just different. We received no holistic or pastoral care and disability or difference were not nurtured. However we did know how to cope with knock backs and low grades and accept/ pick ourselves up. Not everyone CAN be top dog and in a well rounded society there's room and need for all abilities.

The one thing I wish I'd known before starting work: Good things don't come to those who wait, they come to those who go and get them.

itsnothingoriginal Mon 20-May-13 21:32:28

This thread makes me sad because until the government cuts there were Careers Advisers in schools and in the community providing careers advice, CV writing support and guidance.

Despite having a bad press in the past, in recent times lots of young people liked the support and the help Careers and Connexions Advisers could provide them them with all the questions listed above. Most of us have now lost our jobs but many of us were enthusiastic and totally committed to providing high quality careers advice. The Connexions service and careers advice in general is no longer available to most young people at a time when they need it most....

mrscog Mon 20-May-13 21:45:46

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

I think the most important skills are knowing how to behave in a formal environment, how to self evaluate and accept advice/help with how to do something, how to accept constructive criticism and work on improving a skill even if it's not easy. I also think enthusiasm even if it's a really shit job is important, I once had a holiday job unstapling and then restapling a whole year's bookkeeping records ready for audit. Was it boring, hell yes, did I ever moan at work, no - it would have been 'unprofessional'. An awareness is needed what to moan about at home and what to nod and smile about at work.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I don't know, we did have quite good careers advice at school, but to be honest what prepared me the most was loads of part time jobs from 15+, waitressing, reception work, office work, care work - all sorts. It gave me a really good idea about different career paths and it taught me a lot of basic skills.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work? Aim high when you're young. When I finished uni I really wanted to go in to marketing, I shyed away from it as I thought I wouldn't be any good so I accepted an entry level admin role rather than applying for entry level marketing stuff, which in hindsight I'm sure I could have persevered and got.

ifindoubtnamechange Mon 20-May-13 22:01:46

What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
They need the absolute basics: what to wear, communicating in formal environments, timekeeping. Yes some young people are taught these, usually those who don't need extra help. The most disengaged and deprived young people are being further disadvantaged by not having these opportunities.

The website looks good but I am concerned that it will mainly be accessed by young people who are well enagaged with supportive schools and families. It would be good to hear more about how this can/will be marketed t those that need it most.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved? I don't remember being taught this stuff at school - learned what I needed to at home. Just my experience so can't say if things are better or worse now.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
How to deal with workplace politics - or evenjust a head up about problems that could occur.

HannahLI Mon 20-May-13 22:07:27

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
I don't think young people are being given the right tools. One thing that would really help get young people ready would be more tailored and appropriate work guidance when they are still at secondary school. I know that when I was this age the careers guidance I received was minimal and looking back wasn't the right advice for me at all. Personality testing is also really fun and helps to guide young people into the right careers. Attitude isn't really a skill but it is a really important part of succeeding in the workplace and many people young and old don't have the right one. Better core skills like maths, english and problem solving. Schools teach often to pass exams in these core areas rather than teaching how they can be used within the workplace.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved? I think they were different not better or worse. Often young people who are deemed "not as clever" are pointered towards apprenticeships as a get out clause without actually considering whether that is the right choice. Many don't stick with the scheme because it wasn't the right advice and the young people who would be excellent in these jobs are missed - leaving a lack in the actual workplace. I also think that work placements and taster days have been removed and the career guidance remains the same - unclear and lacking.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
I wish I had known more about the range of jobs available. I just had no idea what I could really do as a job with my qualifications or the options that were available to me.

CheeryCherry Mon 20-May-13 22:59:55

Skills needed...good qualifications, an understanding of hard work, good social and language skills, good cv and interview skills, enthusiasm and honesty.
I am happy my DCs are being taught a lot of that at school, and we try to reiterate them at home.
Yes it is better now, children and teachers more aware of what is needed after GCSE/A levels, preparing them for the next steps.
I wish I had been encouraged to think more about career choices, given appropriate work experience, had advice on cvs and application forms. I needed more guidance at 6th form, regret my career choice, was planning to go into medicine but was never encouraged.
The one thing I wish I'd known? To speak to people in that career, find out more about it.

skyeskyeskye Mon 20-May-13 23:25:45

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

Respect for those who know more than they do. Communications skills. A need to know that work gets you things, that you can't have everything you want in life.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

Things are worse. No respect or discipline now.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work? Save some money, don't spend it all.

skyeskyeskye Mon 20-May-13 23:26:49

Actually one thing at schools is better. The ability to do NVQ's st school to learn something that might actually help in the workplace.

stephgr Tue 21-May-13 00:07:27

Young people need commercial and vocational skills which I don't think they get via GCSEs and A levels. They also need proper grammar spelling and arithmetic. So many young people can't even structure a sentence.

I think basic maths and English have deteriorated but they certainly have better IT skills now.

I wish I'd learnt to touch type.

Snog Tue 21-May-13 06:36:36

Budgeting skills
What an employer values in an employee and why

Cherrybright Tue 21-May-13 09:19:20

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
I think that young people ( and some older too) need to know how to be professional, like mannerisms, how to speak to people, time keeping, and to have a realistic view of work - work is work. Some are, some aren't.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I think that theres more of a lack of respect now, but It skills are better.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
About tax, how hard it can be

dahville Tue 21-May-13 09:19:33

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

Independence - this means the ability to do things for themselves and to think for themselves.

Little by little kids should be learning how be independent, whether it is how to laundry or how to question something they've heard/learned at school.

I don't think this is being properly taught. A lot of the kids I know are coddled and given everything materially without having to work for any of it. Neither do I think independent thought is encouraged in most schools.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

I think we did more for ourselves when we were kids but I think the independent thought was hit or miss depending on teachers and parents.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

To trust my own voice more. I want my kids to know it is okay to say I don't know but I am willing to learn.

delasi Tue 21-May-13 10:07:20

What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
- To accept that sometimes, you might not like your job! When work is hard to come by you have to take what's available and make the most of your situation. Work hard, be respectful, find the positives in your position and keep going until you get something you do love.
- Every experience is positive. Don't undersell yourself, derive the transferable skills from what you've already done.
- Be pro-active, take initiative, employ common sense. All of that! For example, if something goes wrong at work, regardless of your job, try to find a practical solution or seek someone who can where relevant don't just stand there
> I don't think these things are really taught as they run more along the lines of tips rather than practical skills.
- In terms of practical skills: CV writing, basic literacy and numeracy, clear verbal communication. I think these things are listed as being taught, but practically a lot of young people leave school with weaknesses in these areas.

Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I left school in 2005, which wasn't that long ago. From what I know of those around me school hasn't really changed much - not better, and not substantially worse. However the external provisions for young people in this area have suffered a huge blow due to funding cuts. At that time, there was a lot of funding available for youth initiatives and career support for 16-25 year olds. A lot of that has gone now and in quite deprived areas, like where I grew up, that was the only provision so now they're left with nought.

And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
It's okay to say no - whilst it's good to grab an opportunity, don't let management make you feel like your job is at risk if you can't do overtime (for example...).

PostBellumBugsy Tue 21-May-13 10:23:05

AnnMumsnet - I did look at the link & I commented on the website specifically. The question I asked was if Barclays were actually going to deliver their programme in schools as I couldn't tell if that were the case.

pippop1 Tue 21-May-13 11:39:22

What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

They need to learn old fashioned politeness to existing employees at the firm. It's a big shock and change from school (where unfortunately you can be v bolshi and the consequences are normally not too severe) to work, where the consequences can be extreme (being out of a job). They need to learn the difference between attitudes required the two settings.This could be done by role play. They need to understand the importance of timekeeping in that they have to factor in extra travel time in case a train/bus is late and that it is not acceptable to be late even occasionally. The same with lunch hours and also that it may well be necessary to stay later than your contracted hours every day and for no pay in order to progress to the next level.

Also good for them to understand in a simple way about tax, national insurance, sick pay, how overdrafts may affect applictions for mortgage in the future and so on.

They need to have a version of confidence in themselves at work between knowing everything (and therefore not asking and making mistakes) and knowing nothing and being paralysed with fear and so using no initiative at all. This comes with age. Politeness comes in here too.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

It's about the same (I'm 51 and went to a girls grammar school) except that more information is freely available due to the internet. That said, you can Google anything at all, but of course you have to know what words to use to ask the questions and whether to trust the answers that you get. I think it's good for a new worker to have a trustworthy person at work that they can go to to ask a confidential question.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
It wasn't at all necessary to have a voccational degree (in the 1980s anyway) in order to succeed or make it worth going to University.

FreckledLeopard Tue 21-May-13 12:33:09

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

If we're talking about young people (i.e. those leaving school at 16 or 18 and looking for work), then there are a number of key skills that many young people seem to lack:

- Professional demeanour - eye contact, standing up straight, confidence, dressing correctly, speaking nicely, not chewing gum/playing on their phones/chatting with mates instead of serving customer etc.

- Telephone and written skills - many people (not just young people), have shocking phone and written skills - poor spelling, grammar etc

- Time keeping, punctuality, enthusiasm and committment

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

It's hard to say with any certainty. I was at an independent school where the expectation was that everyone would go to university and embark on a career. In addition, we had organised work experience and had a lot of key skills drummed into us from an early age. We were also in an affluent area which had the effect that most of us were confident, well-spoken and even if not particularly bright, could easily get a job as a PA, receptionist or something similar, as opposed to a 'career' as such.

Having said that, people of my cousins' or parents' and grandparents' generation were certainly far better prepared for the world of work than this generation is. Partly there was the expectation that if you weren't in grammar school, then you'd be leaving school at 14/16 and going out to work (I accept I'm talking about several generations ago). As such, young people were taught key skills (three 'Rs', vocational skills etc) that enabled them to find work more easily. I think with the current emphasis on continuing education for all, the idea that young people need to be prepared for the workplace has faded, with disastrous conseqences.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

That even once you've secured the qualifications and you're on a career path, nothing is ever certain. Redundancy etc is always a possibility and you therefore have to prove yourself constantly and never rest on your laurels.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 21-May-13 12:53:11

OK PostBellumBugsy - sorry - will come back to you on that.

fossil971 Tue 21-May-13 13:32:05

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

Independent transport - driving licence or at least not needing your mum to take you everywhere. Being reliable. Being able to relate to people of different ages/cultures (Scouts/guides, sports teams etc good for this). IT skills - this is one area where young people are a significant ADVANTAGE over their potential employers! English and maths. Technical skills of all kinds are still in short supply. I believe in touch typing as well but for some baffling reason it's fallen by the wayside in schools.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

You need to think about different types of work and the skills needed for them. When I was a teenager, the most lasting impressions I had were from young people a few years ahead of me coming back into school or at a careers event, telling us how it is. It would be great to see some videos of 17/18 year olds actually in the workplace and talking about how they got their jobs and what it's like to be there. You could show them off duty to illustrate they might dress or behave differently out of work. You could illustrate that their shift starts at 7 am or they have to wear a uniform. They could say they get freezing cold on site or their feet are killing them after standing up all day but they earn respect from their colleagues for putting up with it and the advantanges are they have their independence and wage to take home. The website looks nice but I think it could do with more video and the voices of young people who have crossed the divide, so to speak.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
Opportunities don't come looking for you, you have to go and get them.

ShatnersBassoon Tue 21-May-13 13:52:59

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
Independence. Too many children are spoonfed in every part of their lives that becoming a functioning adult seems too difficult. From not being allowed to walk to school unaccompanied, to being tutored to get them through examinations, children aren't given enough control over their lives. Experience of dealing with unexpected or difficult situations would help many young people get to grips with working life.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I think things were better when I was at school. We were given more responsibility for our own success and were left in no doubt that if we didn't help ourselves then we would fail smile

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
I wish I'd known that you didn't need a briefcase if you worked in an office blush

sharond101 Tue 21-May-13 21:27:36

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
YOung people need to be taught to problem solve, work as a team and people skills. So many of them are not use to talking and listening to other people.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I think things are worse. The school leavers seem to believe they know enough and more than those in the profession already. They have little respect or people skills.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
That I didn't need to go to University to get a good job. So many of my friends have did what they wanted to do without the stress of University and make a good salary.

FattyMcChubster Tue 21-May-13 21:30:50

People these days need real life skills. I understand there is a curriculum but how does it fit in to today's life? If people need to study specific things to train in a certain job them fine but what about life skills?
Why can we not have lessons on mortgages, loans pensions and savings?
How to run a home, look after dc, social skills such as co-habiting.
So many things I learnt in school I have never ever used again and so much I really could have known.
Even in lessons such as home economics I don't think there was enough emphasis on being self sufficient when living alone or how to feed a family.
Wht about budgeting? How to fix and mend things? Real life skills we could use day to day.

I know we have to learn to read, write and use arithmetics but I really see other subjects are more specific to future careers and not suitable for everyone.
It's hard because this would mean choosing a career at such a young age but there has to be an alternative surely?

DoodleAlley Wed 22-May-13 12:06:27

- I think young people need to be given a sense of confidence about working independently and taking responsibility. I think we are risk averse as a society which can make the leap from education to work a difficult one and no, I don't think this is taught well enough.

- I don't think things were that different when I was at school

- prior to starting work I wish I'd learnt the basics of being in an office and I wish I'd been encouraged to be more confudent

JedwardScissorhands Wed 22-May-13 14:46:44

what skills do young people need to get ready for the workplace?

General practical life skills, not necessarily things connected with work. Being sociable and having sensible adult conversations. Cooking their own meals. Being able to change lightbulbs and fix toilets. Not continuing to be treated like toddlers by their parents when they are or are nearly adults.

Do you think things were better when you were at school?
God no! I was taught how to make a quilted cushion and make a jar of lemon curd. A quick careers session, but no practical skills.

What do you wish you had known?
To be more practical.

stonesteps Wed 22-May-13 15:44:26

- What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

My younger brother just left education and he is wholly unprepared for the real world. He hasn't been taught anything that he will need to know for the world of work in terms of how he will be paid, sick pay, annual leave, anything like that. He even asked me if he will have to pay tax! He finished top of the class, great grades, and yet there was no teaching on the basics of getting by at work. I think that people now need to be more educated about the dangers of debt as well.

- Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

We were taught an enrichment program that taught us about tax, mortgages, rent, etc. I was surprised he wasn't taught any of this.

- And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

I wish I had known my rights and felt more able to stand up for myself. I refused my boss's advances aged 16 and was promptly gotten rid of! It didn't occur to me for years later that this was illegal!

MegBusset Wed 22-May-13 16:49:03

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
Interview skills, budgeting, how to present yourself professionally especially in the age of social media. My DC are too young to worry about all this but I'm not at all sure these skills are being taught.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
No, I don't think they were better. IT "lessons" were laughable then and the only exposure to the world of work was a week's work experience. Mind you, as it was a grammar school it was expected that most kids would go on to university - I was in the minority going to work straight from A-levels.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
Financial management would have helped a lot - took me quite a few years to get my income and expenditure properly balanced!

ifindoubtnamechange Wed 22-May-13 22:36:17

I work with teens and think this will be quite useful. I've forwarded in the link to some colleagues including our careers advisor and we're going to talk about how to maybe use it.

smokinaces Wed 22-May-13 23:57:49

Barclays want to know from you:

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
How to dress. How to act. How to speak. How to respect. How to be independant. How you have to be responsible for your own actions. And no I don't think they are being taught it nearly enough.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
Prospects without a degree were better ten years ago. I'm in a field that previously experience held in good weight. Now you have to tick that degree button, regardless of your work ethic, Experience or recommendation.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
To save what you earn!

iwantavuvezela Thu 23-May-13 10:25:18

Barclays want to know from you:

What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
I think the skills for today's youth are the ability to be a learner through life. It is my belief that the jobs (primary aged children) will do when they leave school, are perhaps still not known. Therefore if we cant predict the types of work, what children need is the ability to learn, the ability to change. I also think that creativity, will be essential. I think there will be a shift from my day (moons ago) where you learned something like nursing/lawyer/banking - and then that is what you did. The shift will be to be able to take skills and transfer them.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
100% - we did tedious rote learning; nothing creative; basic career advice given. I look at the education my daughter is getting at marvel at it. How much fun they make learning, how hard they try (teachers) to create a good learning environment.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

I think basic money management; what a credit card is; what lending money entails; how to buy a house/rent - practicalities. When I look at my friends, i can see how those who had parents with no financial skills passed on nothing to their children - also schools did not do anyting around this, so you have basic misunderstandings about lending; debt etc.

wickeddevil Thu 23-May-13 13:35:33

What are the skills you think young people really need today in the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
Clear confident communication with appropriate body language; eye contact, hand shakes, sitting up straight and looking interested.
Team working, friendliness, ability to follow instructions and complete tasks.
As the very proud mum of a DS who recently started an engineering apprenticeship, I would say he was taught them, because he is a member if our local air cadet squadron, but sadly not by his school who were only interested in getting pupils to uni

Do you think things were better when you were at school, have things improved?
I left school in 1987 and so overall employment prospects were better, however it was harder to find out about careers unless you knew people involved in them already. I was good at commerce and would have liked to have had a career in finance but had no idea where to start. I do think this is better now, it is far easer to find out about jobs and career paths.

What do you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
That work can be enjoyable, and you don't have to stay in the same job if you think you would prefer to do something different.

When I left school in 1989, we had all been taught how to touch-type, to sew a hem and to cook basic meals. These skills have stayed with me and been improved over the years and I will definitely be passing them on to both DD and DS.

Today young people would do well to present them in a professional manner, be well-spoken and courteous and to be good timers. Good spelling and grammar is essential. They would also do well to expect to have to work, to appreciate the value of money and to end this culture of entitlement and instant gratification. God I sound about 110!

GiraffesAndButterflies Thu 23-May-13 17:09:06

Barclays want to know from you:

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
I think they need to know how to evaluate their work. I can show someone where they need to improve but the most frustrating thing is when I return a draft email/report/letter/whatever and meet a 'sfine as it is innit?' attitude. Whether they're taught this- not formally, I don't think.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
Probably about the same since my day. I wasn't taught how to approach the world of work in terms of thinking about what my boss needed from my work and trying to fulfil/anticipate those needs. Mystifying really since it's what most of us go on to do all day every day!

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
That email can be informal. I was given an unbearably stiff and outdated idea of all office communications which it took me ages to unlearn. Different tones for different situations would have been a more useful lesson. Sometimes 'Cheers Jeff' really is all your email needs to say.

Kids should be encouraged to participate in activities that will enhance their CV, eg DOE, team sports, etc, all of which can also be used for competency based application forms.
Volunteering is good if the career you want involves a PVG/ Disclosure as this is a key feature in many jobs.
Learn to drive if you don't live in a city. Public transport is no use if the job you want has unsocial hours.
Familiarity with online job search sites, e.g. Indeed.co.uk
Punctuality, reliability and enthusiasm go a long way with employers.
Research your chosen field and make sure the subjects you choose are the ones you need. For most apprenticeships you will need maths, English and decent IT skills.
Make sure your CV is as good as it can be and have different ones for all your job options. A cv for a part time bar job should not be the same as one for a joinery apprenticeship.
Any kind of paid work is great experience and you will need references.
Formal clothing for interviews is a must, jeans and a hoodie are never acceptable.
Pay close attention to what you put on FB, etc. Pics of you on FB looking bladdered, etc. will be seen by potential employers.
Your email address says a lot about you so no sexy bitch@hotpants.com or mufcforevah@footiefanatic.co.uk
Make sure the contact telephone number you give is hooked to an answer phone or voicemail. Employers will not try to contact you for interviews more than twice.
No crazy hair colours, visible tatts or piercings, people can be extremely judgey about these wink

TiredFeet Thu 23-May-13 22:07:09

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

great I.T. skills, I think this is unavoidable now. but also, how to conduct themselves in the work place, how to dress, speak and act in a professional manner.

we have young people come for placements and I am surprised by how many seem totally uninterested and unenthusiastic about what they are doing. it may be basic admin they are giving but this is the building blocks for any office job. I have also been surprised to see c.v.'s with 'silly' email addresses given as the contact details, or scruffy clothes for work experience.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

I don't know about better, we didn't get much preparation for the world of work at all, bar a short bit of work experience. university, especially at post grad level, was great for some training in how to behave etc, and actually the most useful preparation were my first jobs, I guess people were prepared to gently coach me! I am also really pleased I had the opportunity to do a touch typing course when I was at school, I think this is a vital skill. I really hope it is taught in schools now.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work
I wish I had known how much the very non-glamorous first jobs would help me in my future career. they still go on my cv with pride as they taught me so much about customer service, team working etc. I think that I would have appreciated them even more at the time if I had understood how much they were teaching me and would help me get my more exciting future jobs.

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them? Initiative - no / money management - no / team work and communication - yes /

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved? Improved hugely in terms of careers guidance

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work? That you don't have to stick to the same thing forever. I wish I'd been told much more about options available.

daisybrown Thu 23-May-13 23:21:20

Glad to see we are getting back to apprenticeships. Too many youngsters tend to expect the world for not doing a great deal or working towards it.

DontMeanToBeRudeBut Fri 24-May-13 15:59:28

- Personal organisation, spelling and grammar, good work ethic and compartmentalising emotions. I think these are things that are encouraged by schools but with varying degrees of success.

- I left school nine years ago, so not long really. Even so, I do voluntary work with young people and I'm constantly amazed at how rude and lazy they are and how any problems always someone else's fault. Maybe I was just as bad as a teenager!

- I wish I had known that no one cares how much of a superstar you were at school, it means absolutely nothing in the real world.

dotcomlovenest Fri 24-May-13 16:40:06

Skills we need to teach young people.
Work to live. Not live to work.
Far to much emphasis is put on how important work is to the detriment of family.
As someone else said I had my first job interview was when I was 14.
You now can no longer get jobs at this age so many young people when they leave full time education will be taking there first steps on the job ladder.
So the basics, cv's, appropriate clothes and appropriate behaviour.
Though these are all things that are learned quite quickly in the real world.

Hopezibah Fri 24-May-13 21:43:09

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

I think general good manners and social skills are essential but taught in a way that encourages mutual respect rather than forces children or young people to conform by quashing who they really are.

I don't think they are being taught this. I think schools end up wanting to have compliant students and this comes at the expense of being entrepreneurial / inventive and having the freedom to voice their own opinions.

This leaves them disgruntled and then it leads to problem behaviour and not how to have respectful relationships with those in positions of authority and their peers.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

not particularly. it very much depends on individual schools and colleges and how much they treat students as real people rather than a number.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

just what a treadmill it is! I think it is important to recognise work / life balance and finding happiness in the workplace early on.

Wouldn't it be great if our kids could be allowed to fulfil their potential doing work that they love doing and really enjoy their work. Then their productivity / output and quality of what they do is likely to be higher too.

NorbertDentressangle Sat 25-May-13 20:04:58

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

From what I've seen in the applicants for jobs where I currently work I think there's a lack of understanding in how to write a CV or fill in an application form, some young people lack a basic awareness of grammar (your/you're etc) or even write in text speak. If they're lucky enough to get an interview then they need to know how to dress and present themselves professionally.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

I don't remember being prepared for interviews or how to fill in a job application however I think the application/interview process was often more informal when I was younger (may moons ago!) - there often weren't the same hoops to jump through, so for example you might have had a casual chat with no need for an application form simply because you were a friend of a friend (which is how I got a very desirable Sat job whilst at Uni). Competition seemed less then.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

I wish I'd had better (or any in fact!) career guidance. I think you also need to appreciate what a large part of your life work can become so do something you enjoy if you can and get the work/home balance right.

chebella Sun 26-May-13 07:08:11

I think in terms of concrete skills, budgeting and projecting a confident demeanor (without seeming arrogant) are vital to young people (and older ones too!).

Schools can be in danger of mis-informing young people as teachers entered the workplace in a different 'climate' - unless they are fresh from university - so I think this is unchanged. Parents can be more well informed though due to the 'hot potato'nature that the circumstance of young people trying to enter the workplace has become.

I wish I hadn't been handed a credit card so early on by banks as, although I no longer use one and while I accept they are an essential for most people, it's a hiding to nothing for most young people.

tallulah Sun 26-May-13 17:06:26

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

That you may have a degree and think you are something else, but actually so has everyone else and you are at the bottom of the ladder.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

When I was at school (a long time ago) careers advice was nonexistant. If you were clever you were steered towards the Civil Service or a bank. If not you were told to look at hairdressing or nursing. Nobody told us there was anything out there.

But going by what's happening with my own adult children I'm starting to think that the old way was the most honest. They all had big dreams of the career they wanted but after university and lots of work find out that there are no opportunities at all, and everyone is chasing the same 2 or 3 positions. Better not to have known about it in the first place than be so disappointed when you can't get there.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

That it would be like school but with longer hours and few holidays grin

LentilAsAnything Sun 26-May-13 17:17:41

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
Does this not defend on the job?
I guess most jobs require commitment, reliability, punctuality. And a nice nature.
Remember to shower every morning and brush your teeth. grin
Spelling is important, take care to get it right.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I've really no idea, sorry. I guess things are better in that it is much easier for entrepreneurial people to research things because we now have the Internet. Easier to search for things like how to write a great CV. Looking online for jobs is easier than in my day when you had to look in the paper or go to the job centre.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
I did know this already really, but I wish I had known quite how much. If you can work for yourself, do.
Don't work too hard. You could die young. Enjoy life. Work pays the bills, and for adventure. There is more to life than work. But a good job can afford you a more comfortable life, and more choices. Work hard, retire young!

zipzap Sun 26-May-13 23:29:50

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
- A sense of professionalism - pride in their job, doing things properly, treating others with respect,
- The need to just get on with things and the fact that you will need to work. hard probably. Can't just ignore a task and hope it will go away, like a piece of homework you can't be bothered to do.
- Time keeping, writing skills, basic maths skills. cv writing and interviewing skills. Listening skills.
- The need to research the job you are applying for before you start - yes you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. But if you are just leaving school or uni then you will be going for a junior position and up against a lot of competition so not really in a position to be making a lot of demands.

But then there are also things that will help them to manage their life better which in turn will affect their work, so things like:
- Money management: understanding their pay cheque, tax deductions etc, pensions, loans, mortgages, budgeting and so on (all the sort of things that Martin Lewis is championing being taught at school through MoneySavingExpert)
- First Aid - Just think that everybody should know the basics of first aid when they leave school - whether it is to help somebody that collapses at work or in the street, the world would be much better if they knew first aid. I think it would also help to provide everybody with more of a sense of community spirit - if there was an emergency they would know how to help - and I think that knowledge is actually very empowering
- Healthy living - how to cook decent food for themselves, the basics of food and nutrition, and exercise... Bit basic but if people are able to cook basic decent food for themselves and understand why it is good (both from financial and health point of views), then chances are they are likely to be in better health which has to be good if you are employing them. I would be very worried about somebody's lack of good sense if they thought that eating out or grabbing a take away every day was a good idea. There may be a few workplaces that provide a great canteen where you can eat well and more cheaply than you can cook for yourself, which is a bit different. But where there isn't then it is worrying the number of people that seem to buy a sandwich for lunch and then buy a pizza or grab a burger on the way home. Fine for an occasional mad day - not when it becomes the norm.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
When I was at school, everyone was expected to go to university so not much time was expended on work skills, they were something we were expected to pick up at uni. I hope that things have improved since then but have young dc so not in a position to know currently.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
That there are lots of jobs out there that you, your teacher or your parents will never have heard of but that doesn't necessarily mean it's not worth investigating. Quite the reverse - might be others that haven't heard of it either so aren't applying and therefore less competition for you.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Mon 27-May-13 12:48:41

What skills?
Communication:
Writing or speaking well doesn't mean using long words.
Poor spelling will be noted and matters more in the world of work than it seems to do in school.
Learning to pretend (convincingly) that you have respect for someone, even if you don't. You might get away with sarcasm in school but it will do you no favours when you start work.
Learning that imaginative excuses won't be much use at work.
Learning that the criticism you may face when you are mastering new things at work may not always be fair or constructive. I think that many schools do an excellent job in giving fair and constructive criticism to help students to learn. It can come as a bit of a shock to find that employment isn't always very fair.
In summary, I think students may need to learn resilience - and I'm not convinced schools teach this. Role play might be useful for this.

First Aid. Definitely. I really don't know why this isn't on every school curriculum - it's the obvious place to teach it.

Money, Tax, Time-keeping.

Just how much variety there is in the world of work. So many different jobs that most people have no idea about.

Learning to think laterally and imaginatively. It can help you to get work, to stay in work or to change jobs and can help keep you sane.

Better or worse when I was at school?
Worse, I think. I wasn't aware of any advice for the world of work. Most students were expected to go on to University - not in to work. There was very little advice about HOW to apply for jobs at University. I cringe now to think about some of the letters I wrote to potential employers.

What do I wish I had known?
That no choice is for ever. You can change tack, so you don't have to get it right first time.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Mon 27-May-13 12:52:49

Just wanted to add: when applying for jobs - a sniper approach is better than a scatter gun. Patience and resilience (again) are needed. The problem here is that the sniper approach needs very specific and tailored support - so will be much more difficult to teach. General hints and tips are all very well, but different jobs need different approaches.

KenDoddsDadsDog Mon 27-May-13 16:55:46

- That if you take a job you should value it. I see little evidence that people are prepared for basic disciplines such as timekeeping, keeping your phone off, being able to speak to people politely. I do think schools should endeavour to show that it's possible to progress from a starter job or apprenticeship if you have the desire and discipline.
- I left school over 20 years ago , my careers teaching was ropey but our conduct was carefully managed.
- That it's not always the popular kids that succeed!

whosiwhatsit Mon 27-May-13 18:01:16

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

CV writing skills and interview skills. Practical skills such as maths, statistics, spreadsheets, and technical writing if they want a well-paid office job. Otherwise solid training in a trade such as electrician or plumber. I think, and its really sad to say, that only kids with rich parents can afford to study things like art and literature anymore. It's very unfortunate but young people today who need to be financially independent need to look at the types of careers where new people are in demand and focus on studying those. This is actually a very sad but practical truth for most.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

I think things were better just because the economy was better. It's no sense blaming young people now for being unemployed when there are so many experienced professionals unable to find jobs. Now young people need to do whatever it takes to get on a stable track and I thnk that's much more difficult than it was for my generation.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

I wish I had known that just about any entry level job can lead to something better if you focus and work really hard at it. Also I wish I had known what an engineer was and why that would be a good subject to study at university. And I wish I had known what I was capable of - in particular that I could do maths and science even though I'm a woman and women supposedly aren't capable of studying those things.

RubySparks Mon 27-May-13 21:00:51

Skills - communication, how to write well and speak well, be polite,and friendly. How to be confident without being arrogant. The ability to learn new things is the most useful thing in any job.

Changes - I was looking for my first job in the early 80s and was absolutely clueless. School had been all about exams and nothing about working with other people. I ended up in a temp job working with someone who encouraged me to apply to uni to qualify, my family had no experience of uni and did not know anything about it so I think a mentor can be a key aspect in changing the outcome for some young people.

Knowledge - I wish I had thought about what subjects to choose in early secondary school and what careers that would allow me to apply for. Also what kind of income I was looking to earn. Having said that when I left school I had never used a computer, when I left uni I has a knack for the, and that led me into IT, an industry that barely existed when I was at school! So I think flexibility and being able to switch careers is needed now, our children will end up in careers that haven't been invented yet!

cluttered Mon 27-May-13 21:19:35

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
Time-keeping, the ability to get on with people of different ages and from different backgrounds, good IT skills, good communication skills including the ability to speak and write English correctly. Some schools do teach this but there seem to be a lot of young people who can't write correct English, not helped by too much text speak
~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I didn't ever have any careers advice, I was expected to go to university which I did but no one ever asked me what I wanted to do afterwards and how my degree choice would lead to that. I stumbled into a career which I am still in but would have chosen something else if I had thought more about what I wanted from life. So careers advice is definitely better now but I did receive a better grounding in grammar than many young people seem to have today
~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
Considering how much of your life is spent at work it is really important to choose a career based on something that interests you and also to consider what you may want in the future e.g. lots of work-related travel may seem great when you are young but your feelings may change when you have a family, having flexibility to work at home or flexible hours can make a huge difference when you have a family and some jobs are more portable than others i.e. some specialist jobs are restricted to fairly large cities, others can be done online and it doesn't matter where you are physically. I wish I had made conscious choices based on my long term dreams and not just drifted into the first career that seemed suitable. Having said that, it is possible to retrain for a completely different career if you want to enough but it is easier to get it right the first time.

daimbardiva Mon 27-May-13 23:00:27

~What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

Communication skills are absolutely key, budgeting is another important one.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

I think things have probably improved. All the emphasis was on getting to university when I was at school - work was rarely mentioned.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

Having a degree is not the be all and end all!

MrsAVB Tue 28-May-13 11:12:27

~What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

A sense of ownership and responsibility for planning for your future; not just the big things like getting a job, but the small intermediate steps to get there - eg. I struggle with early starts/ speaking on the phone etc. - setting small goals to tackle this - eg. I will phone x once a week rather than text. I think a lot of the tools for YPs focus on the big things and the fixes, rather than encouraging self-ownership and thought through goal setting and reflection.

I think with this comes a sense of perspective. YP I've worked with have often been in two camps; either not expecting to work at all, or expecting to be "discovered" as a pop star/ footballer and I think those working with YPs around their futures should use tools which encourage realistic discussion around this rather than dismiss either perspective. Eg. Looking at JDs, "journeys" of both successful people, and those maybe 5 years ahead of themselves.

Back to basics stuff. Some YPs who I have had on work experience have been top students in top schools and been able to eg. design a website from scratch, but have not been able to: put a stamp in the right corner of an envelope, understand why they can't use their iPod or pop out to the shops whenever they want, make a cup of coffee, answer the phone, speak to members of the public, take notes during a meeting, sweep a floor, empty a dishwasher etc.

I think it's patchy as to whether YPs are being taught these things and I think much of it is at the door of parents and employers/ placement providers as well as schools. I think any programme working in this way should have an element that speaks to parents, as so many of the attitudes/ basic things above are things that can be supported at home. I think employers/ placement providers need support to to ensure that the opportunities they provide are meaningful and not "made up jobs" supervised by someone who resents having someone on work experience and doesn't give effective feedback. I believe work experience is far more effective than classroom learning about work, and that it should be a start (eg. application/ interview) to finish process. I think provision of work experience is patchy too, and choice is often limited, especially for those who are disabled/ "hard to place", and most YPs only get one placement, meaning that some of the perspective stuff above isn't gained, especially if the placement provider isn't up to scratch.

I think skills need to be taught earlier too and that it's never too early to start thinking about careers; even nursery aged children are starting to think "I want to be a ballet dancer" etc, so starting early with the basic stuff like teamwork means its more ingrained and transferable later on.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

I think some things are better and some things are worse. The Internet provides lots of opportunities to find out about different kinds of jobs and opportunities. I remember at school, doing a careers quiz, with questions like "would you rather be a dancer or a dustman" - which I would rather be has very little relevance to which I'd be able to do.

I think the things that are worse are that there seems to be more emphasis on academic achievement, both for schools and individuals, which means that those who excel practically can be demoralised through not being given equal opportunites to show they excel. And I think general celebrity culture etc means that some YPs think its easy to be successful and have a sense of expectation.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

I wish I'd known that success doesn't = academic achievement. Being clever isn't the be all and end all. I remember a-level results feeling like they were an incredibly pivotal moment, when actually the skills that have led to a happy and successful career aren't related to grades at school or uni. Friends who were multiple a* graders and Oxbridge graduates are not any further ahead in their careers, earning more, or happier than friends who failed all their a levels. Success and happiness relates to you as a person, your motivation, and your circumstances.

Sorry for the long post!

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 28-May-13 14:01:30

Some of you asked about Barclays taking this into schools - sorry for the delay in coming back but Barclays say "Absolutely, we have been engaging with schools across the country for some time and encouraging them to get registered. The LifeSkills site is designed to support schools and teachers and we are continuing with our communication and engagement with schools."

JS06 Wed 29-May-13 16:33:15

Skills Needed Today

How to arrive anywhere on time
How to talk about yourself confidently
How to initiate a conversation
How to say thanks
How to say you're not happy with a service or product
Where to go for help with consumer rights
Why do we need solicitors/bankers/software engineers in world of work
How to exploit technology for your purposes - ie dyslexic son is forging ahead (only now, age 16 - groan) with voice activated software and it's helping him feel normal and part of the crowd
What do do if you see something untoward - an accident/bullying/negligence/ when to speak up and when not to.
Responsibilities at work - you have rights but you are responsible now too and need to act accordingly.

I don't think that I've observed my 16 year old being exposed to this range of learning whilst at school. I accept the school curriculum probably can't squeeze it in in it's current form but there are some initiatives in schools which start to address them.

I do think there are missed opportunities though and plenty of immersion points which could be exploited. Not by teachers, they're wrung out, but what about using school premises during evenings for workshops for teens, some simple but interesting holiday classes, some Saturday workshops for say 6 weeks on 'being the newbie' at work - what to expect, how to succeed.

Own son, 16, in middle of GCSEs, dismissed from school at half term this week and only expected to go in to complete remaining exams. I wasn't aware this was coming up and was unprepared but will utilise this 'golden' time for a whole half term. I am home based and can do it but not everyone has this capacity, I accept. It was while looking round the internet over the last week or so for things like visual clips to support me helping son that I came across LifeSkills from Barclays, it fitted the bill beautifully. I've passed it on to school as I consider that this is exactly the kind of material that schools are sorely missing. A great big working organisation doing some of the background material/slick presentation is ideal.

Were things any better when I was at school

While I was at school things weren't any better but it was a different world back then when I was 16 (now 51) - no mobiles, no technology like we have now, different cultures, different expectations. I think we're light years away from the days when I was at school.

What I wish I'd known when starting out

I wish I'd known when I was starting out in the world of work that it's absolutely fine to change career direction. Doing what you've always done for the whole of your working life does not have to limit you now. The world truly is the oyster of any young person starting out.

JS06 Wed 29-May-13 16:34:27

For information I've passed the link in last week about LifeSkills to our local senior school in Lincolnshire and to a specialist team from the local authority who deal specifically with senior school students who have language/communication difficulties.

TheFlipsideOfTheCoin Thu 30-May-13 13:14:48

What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?
Dedication to a job. No phoning in sick all the time because you can't be bothered. This is taught, to an extent, by the school system as there are punishments for lateness, etc. At college level, however, it is very easy for kids to just skive off!

Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I only left school 4 years ago so I don't really think things have changed that much.

And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
There's not really much help. No teachers to cry to when you think you'll miss a deadline. You either miss the deadline or risk losing your job. The workplace is far less lenient.

Theimpossiblegirl Mon 03-Jun-13 09:49:53

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them? How to budget, time management, acceptable workplace behaviour, basic English, maths and computing skills.
I don't think the first three are particularly covered by schools, I hope to goodness the other three are.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?
I remember having one careers lesson. I was told I would make a good civil servant. I was 14 and didn't have a clue what that meant. I also had a 2 week work experience in the office of a building firm that I enjoyed but mainly because it was time off school.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
The holidays are not the same (even if you go into teaching). Life is so easy before you have to work so enjoy it, travel, have fun, do things you may regret not doing in later life.

Theimpossiblegirl Mon 03-Jun-13 09:51:39

To add, I will be sharing this with a friend who is headteacher at a secondary school for children with SEN. I already told her about the Pizza Express kitchen days and she is always looking for things like this.

Millais Tue 04-Jun-13 19:13:52

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

*Time keeping, self management- following a schedule and sticking to it- learning to plan and prioritise. People skills, listening and empathising. Being able to accept direction and to think before speaking- knowing when to stay quiet!

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved? It is very much dependent on the school. My dss' school is very good at these but dd's not so much. Young people today have been brought up to be very much equal to everyone. Some have difficulty in working out the "pecking order" which can sometimes be good and challenging old ideas but can also be seen as rudeness and a lack of respect.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work? Chase the dream! Work is such a huge part of your life so make sure you are happy in whatever you choose and if you have doubts it is ok to change career!

junebeetle Thu 06-Jun-13 12:53:44

Skills needed: good time management, good and appropriate communication skills and common sense.

Things probably have improved a bit, but the workplace is probably even more competitive now.

Appearing confident is vital!

pithy Mon 10-Jun-13 15:39:04

Good time keeping, reliability, how to network: not just socially, but across a range of media. Good interpersonal skills - not having an arrogant attitude. Good conversational English and grammar, with other languages if possible. Show drive and that you've thought about appearance/presentation.
Things were much better when I was at school. Stress from global competition virtually unheard of. The basics:how to structure a letter, maths, history, science - all taught to a higher standard it seems. But workplaces were often more formal then with a rigid hierarchy.
Wished I'd known more about workplace politics. It's often who you know socialise with after work pub/golf that gets the promotion, as well as the obvious job skills.
The advice I'd give would be to find out about people's backgrounds in the workplace before confiding in anybody. You might find yourself giving an opinion of the boss to the boss's nephew/girlfriend. Learn to discern how much opinion to give your colleagues. Too much, and the chances are that one of them will shaft you to gain advancement. Too little, and you will be excluded from the group for being a kiss arse. Save major gripes for people you trust like best friend/DH.
Don't be afraid to contact the union rep/ seek outside advice, if you feel you are being badly treated. It is better to do this early. But remember that employment legislation is now heavily weighted in favour of the employer and HR is not always impartial. Employment tribunals are not like criminal courts. Employers do not have to prove guilt. You will be judged on a balance of probabilities. So take notes and act early if you think you may be in serious trouble!

gazzalw Mon 10-Jun-13 17:59:19

What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

The work marketplace is a competitive place whether you try to get a job straight from school or after Uni. So the basics which show a diligent, committed, loyal and keen approach to the workplace: good time-keeping, a respect for one's colleagues: peers and senior staff, a willingness to learn and to go the extra mile when required. Excellent IT and Social Media skills but good, coherent and grammatically correct English and reasonable basic maths skills too.

No, sadly I somehow feel that school-leavers have fewer of the required skills than when we were their ages.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

I think school-children are a lot more street-wise and savvy than we were at the same age. But not sure those skills necessarily translate well into employability

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

To make the most of pre-work life and enjoy it to the hilt. That if you aren't happy in one line of work, it's better not to stick it out but find/get transferable skills and volunteer if it helps you move onto your preferred career pathway.

littlemonkeychops Mon 10-Jun-13 20:11:55

Skills that are needed are things like communication skills, confidence, ability to think on your feet, and common sense. I do also agree a bit with posters above who have talked about some young people having a sense of entitlement, so it's good for people to be taught to appreciate that nothing is free and there's no replacement for hard work (though that is probably something parents teach not schools etc).

domesticslattern Mon 10-Jun-13 21:52:52

What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

I interview young people on occasion and am constantly amazed by the massive clutch of qualifications yet them lacking very social skills. It's just not on to go to sleep in meetings (very visibly!); to sit silently throughout a 1 hour meeting because you can't find a way to contribute, even when invited; go all shy and chew your hair when asked your opinion; rock up to a fairly formal office in dirty jeans and sandals; answer the phone "Yeah?". And most of all, it's not on to look so totally bored by the whole process of having to interview or work at all! It's just about a grown-up attitude to the whole thing. There are plenty of great young people who are exceptions of course- and I always look for enthusiasm and a willingness to learn- most other things can be taught.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

I don't think things were much better then TBH. I think people in their late teens and early twenties often find it hard to disguise their real feelings/ fit into a different kind of everyday culture/ pretend to love things you hate/ wear things that "aren't your style" etc., and of course in the workplace that is what you need to do! It's the nature of the beast.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

Always be nice and professional and friendly and enthusiastic to every single person you meet. Never ever think a person or a task is below you. That cleaner or receptionist or very boring man from accounts - or the knowledge that you gained from that tedious admin task- might just save your career one day. It's why Chief Execs learn so much when they go back to the coalface.

rosie17 Tue 11-Jun-13 09:42:40

Here are some of the most basic skills/qualities I think a young person needs to enter the workplace

-punctuality

-politeness

-honesty

-the ability to show at least enthusiasm if not passion for the product, service etc

- the ability to research the field before hand

- A developed good telephone manner

- Obviously great computer skills are a must these days - and some employers are esp interested in young people who know their way around social media for business promotion purposes

-good basic communication skills ie don't mumble give good eye contact and the willingness to smile every now and again!

Catiinthehat Wed 12-Jun-13 13:37:49

~ What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

More confidence and how to approach interviews. More opportunities to present and more opportunities for independent thinking.

Many schools are doing well in my opinion however, it is important to ensure students do as well as they can academically so they do have the tools required and learn to stretch their minds and have the determination to achieve and work hard.

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

I think academically things do improve year on year as schools progress. In terms of respect and discipline, I think many times there is too much emphasis on the school- of course they have a responsibility but it also requires parents to be involved with their children AND the school. Schools and parents need to work together. A school can be as strict as they like but if there are parents who disagree with the discipline and don't discipline their own children then whatever the school does is futile.

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?

How to get more work experience

IvySquirrel Wed 12-Jun-13 20:35:54

What are the skills you think young people really need today to get them ready for the workplace, and do you think they are being taught them?

Excellent literacy & numeracy, punctuality, a pro-active attitude and a big smile!

~ Do you think things were any better when you were at school? Have things improved?

I think some things are better, some are worse. Young people now have more confidence and more experience of teamworking. However their spelling can be terrible!

~ And what was the one thing you wish you had known before starting out in the world of work?
The importance of positivity and smiling.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 13-Jun-13 11:08:31

Hi - thanks for all the comments. Am pleased to say CMOTDibbler has been selected as the winner of the £200 JL voucher. Well done!

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