Business West reports that the soft skills gap packs a hard punch for employers, with “57% of employers citing a lack of soft skills as the main reason why young people are unprepared for the world of work”.

This fits with our experience talking to employers, that there is a need for better ‘work ready’ skills in young people. To be added to businesses need for young people to also have the core commercial skills needed for their roles.

Our view is that both education and business need to work together to help solve this ‘soft skills’ issue.

This view was also reflected by the educators, businesses and skills bodies attending the Creative & Digital Industries Skills Workshop held by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership that we attended on Friday.

A few of the ideas about possible solutions to this problem from that workshop:

  • Alternative work experience opportunities for young people, more career-relevant part-time jobs
  • More support from business in helping educators get students work-ready
  • Employers informing short programmes of employability skills with their experiences and expectations, with creation of a facility/mechanism for employers to have input
  • Colleges having more flexibility to tailor programmes for employers’ needs
  • Early and often contact with business, potentially through business-student networks, relationships in place prior to employment

Business West have a great list of resources for employers, which I’m going to re-list here, so if you are a business and want to help solve this problem, check out these links:

  • Graduate Talent West – Connecting employers with students and recent graduates
  • Apprenticeship Hub – Providing employers with more information about taking on an apprentice
  • Creative Skills Hub – aligning local talent with the needs of the creative sector
  • Skills Junction – A dedicated search engine for courses and training opportunities
  • Hype West – Providing work experience for 18 -24 years olds, with £150 on offer per placement

And if you have specific digital skills needs, consider completing our Digital Skills Survey to inform what courses we offer.