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Adrian Pitt

Develop-meant Training Consultants


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Do employers expect too much of young people?


Hello all,

I've worked with young people for the last 20 plus years.

I was last on Training Zone about three years ago and, one of my final Blog posts (before I went off to record my difficult second album!) was around business folk bemoaning the fact that young people leaving school were not "work ready".

Lo and behold, it's 2016 and one of the first posts of the New Year in the Linkedin Careers professionals group I manage trumpets: "Do employers expect too much of young people?"

When I've asked fellow business bods what they want to see from the youngsters they employ, interestingly enough good literacy, numeracy and IT skills rarely crops up! What I AM hearing is: there's a lack of self-awareness and confidence, poor verbal communication skills, the inability to confess: "I haven't any more work to do, what would you like me to do next?" or: "I'm stuck, can you help me?"

I've carried on digging into the comments over the last few years and this whole discussion can be flipped on its head. More often than not - particularly with smaller employers (although the big boys don't get away scot-free!) it's the lack of induction into company policies, procedures and protocols that have tripped up many young 'uns.

I spoke to one boss who said: "We had this lad, good kid, bit shy, with us for three days, didn't turn up on Thursday. I had to ring him. Turns out he was sick..." Mr Employer, did you inform him he had to contact you before 9am? The answer was in the negative!

I also found that quite a few Managers weren't particularly good Mentors - very little time, patience or empathy with their newbie recruits.

I still haven't sussed out a confident answer to the original question! Do you think employers have this assumption that young people are learning all about themselves, the world and careers at school? I know, to some degree, they are. Some schools better than others. Should employers take more responsibility for making links into education and mentoring, training and developing the school leavers they employ?


Adrian Cuzzocrea owns Develop-meant Training Consultants delivering accredited training to Careers and Advice and Guidance professionals, Managers, Coaches and Mentors, Assessors and Verifiers. Find him at

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