Business Forum Proposal

“Careers guidance in schools is not fit for purpose,” the words of a secondary school parent governor.

Young people leaving school, college or even university are not work ready. That’s according to at least half of all business leaders. Addressing this “skills gap” forms one of the key objectives in the 2019 Manifesto of the Hereford and Worcester Chamber of Commerce, of which I am a member…which raises the obvious question: “What skills are we talking about?”

Surely not career specific skills. Skills specific to engineering, accountancy or pig farming are not the sort of skills that schools can reasonably be expected to teach. Skills like these are best addressed by apprenticeships. 

Presumably, we’re talking about skills that are not career specific, in other words, soft skills.

Which brings me back to my original question: “Just what skills are we talking about?” The problem is never going to be solved until we are very clear what the answer to that question is. We also need to ask ourselves:

  • Why the absence of those skills matters?
  • What impact does this lack of skill have on business?
  • What would be the impact on business if those skills could be taught to the required standard?
  • What is the required standard?

My own research has established that schools are in no position to pay professionals to deliver the sort of training that’s required. Schools haven’t got the money and, in any case, Ofsted grades are jeopardised by taking students off core curriculum time-tables.

While most business people have the necessary skills, very few possess professional coaching qualifications and they don’t have the time to deliver training courses, even if schools were willing to invite them into their classrooms, which they’re not because they daren’t!

It seems to me that a golden opportunity exists for business leaders, schools, professional coaches and possibly parents to collaborate in finding solutions to this challenge. But that means all those parties talking to one another, and how often does that happen?

As a qualified Master Coach, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to deliver a program developed by a forum of business people. Once the program is ready to roll, all we need to agree is where and when the training should take place and how it is to be funded?

I will be delighted to chair such a meeting.

Anyone interested in joining such a forum may contact me by email: or by phoning me: 07795-288490. 

Barry Jackson.