Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"Graduates lacking the skills for work"

According to this news story, "Britain is awash with vacancies for graduates, yet employers are struggling to find university leavers with the right skills - or the right attitude - for the job.

"The main challenge for employers in filling positions, said the AGR, was finding applicants with the right combination of skills, particularly those with "soft" skills such as team-working or leadership."

And Laura Clark's coverage of the same story here, reports that "Many have such poor communication skills that bosses are worried about allowing them to answer the phone, sit in meetings or give presentations. One graduate going for a job at an investment bank began his interview saying: 'You alright mate?' "

I've mentioned this elsewhere in the past few days, but the local builder who employs my sons when they need some spare cash, says they're the first young people he's worked with who haven't needed constant nannying supervision in all the decades he's been in business. They're also the only home educated children he's ever employed, and I don't think that two facts are at all unconnected.

In fact I think this is one of the great unsung benefits of home education and one of the great problems with mass schooling. A family-centred, home-based, autonomous education allows for regular discussion and debate in small groups and 1:1, which is a vital aspect of learning to be an adult, to work with other people, to understand and follow instructions and to be able to communicate well.

To be really useful in many jobs an employee needs to engage with the work being done and see the larger picture. He has to want to be there and be in the habit of using his brain during his waking hours. My teens have spent their home education working on their own projects in a self-directed way, on their own and with other people. They're used to collaborating, negotiating and problem-solving. They haven't had a textbook, pre-written curriculum or syllabus to follow, so they've had to work out the direction of their learning and activities for themselves and they do so without question.

But these aren't special abilities. These are skills most young people would develop if they underwent the same education. What full-time compulsory schooling does, in my opinion, is to thwart the development of independent intellect. A school-life full of "Copy this down from the board," "Turn to page 546.." and other instructions of the kind teachers of large classes need to make does not help students to develop the necessary skills they need for adult life.

5 Comments:

Blogger Tim said...

When Jax first brought up the idea of HE, after I had got over the "you can't do that" bit, one of the first things I thought of was how little I had really got out of my time at school. I was bored to death most of the time and accordingly disruptive. All the things I use in my working and day to day life, I pretty much taught myself. Yes, sometimes it is good to have someone to ask questions and talk through ideas with, but that is not what schools are providing.

I am horrified by the low basic skills of people who are supposed to be successes of the system, semi-literate, innumerate graduates should not be even a possibility.

1:21 pm, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Henry Cate said...

I don't know what public school is like in the UK, but in the United States children are very passive. They do what they are told.

Homeschooling allows children a lot more freedom and development.

Nice to hear others appreciate how your sons are turning out.

Congratulations.

12:41 am, February 01, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Me too Tim, and thanks Henry :-)

1:04 pm, February 03, 2007  
Anonymous maya said...

thankyou for fueling my fire and giving me yet more motivation to keep on this path!

4:33 pm, February 04, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Hi Maya :-)

Any time!

6:11 pm, February 04, 2007  

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