School leavers are a dismal failure in the workplace. That's the verdict of a national survey of employers as the latest batch of pupils eagerly await the results of their GCSE and A level exams this week.
The damning conclusion revealed that more that half of employers who responded marked the standard of literacy, numeracy and oral skills of school leavers they recruited as 'poor' or 'very poor.'
The Research on Skills Survey was carried out by the Forum of Private Business among its members.
" Our survey of 4,000 employers amounts to a condemnation of Britain's education system, which is, self-evidently, turning out school leavers who are socially inept and unprepared for the world of work," said FPB chairman Len Collinson.
The FPB, which champions the cause of 25,000 firms UKwide, is now calling on Government to speed up implementation of its recent White Papers on skills and education to ensure school leavers can at least spell and add up adequately.
Mr Collinson, who also runs successful businesses, declared: "As an employer myself, I would like to see teachers and parents focus more on the basic 3Rs.
"Also there should be a greater emphasis placed on teaching 'social skills', such as encouraging pupils to communicate clearly, instilling a modicum of respect for others, and promoting in them enthusiasm for a useful working life.
"Positive action like this could well be supported by parents and employers, who both have an interest in school leavers being better prepared for the world of work."
The study showed that 46 per cent of employers felt their young recruits' timekeeping was 'poor', and 27 per cent thought the general courtesy of school leavers towards colleagues and customers was also 'poor'.
At the same time, 73 per cent of employers rated school leavers' ability to properly address a letter as either 'poor or very poor', and over 60 per cent were equally damning of ex-pupils' ability to take a simple telephone message.