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Schools ‘Failing on Character Development’


Schools are failing to teach the skills that employers want, according to a leading education expert.

Director of the Young Foundation Geoff Mulgan reported that schools are threatening the UK service industry by focusing too heavily on academia at the expense of character development.

Speaking at the Learning and Skills Development Agency’s annual New Year lecture, Mulgan said that confidence, self-discipline, persistence and reliability were the qualities most employers look for-

Mulgan said: “Although the whole schooling and further education system is oriented to qualifications, these are less important to employers and most often used to screen applicants than to make hiring decisions.

”The mismatch between the skills young people are receiving and the demands of the market …can be seen in every hotel or restaurant in London, Glasgow or Birmingham where the jobs are filled by Estonians, Australians and Poles rather than unemployed locals, who employers see as ill-suited to service work.

“It can be seen in the many statistics which show that key government policies have had little impact on levels of worklessness and on the numbers of young people not in education, employment or training. And it can be seen in the often appalling levels of service provided by many private companies as well as many public services.”

Mulgan, a former number 10 policy adviser, advocates a new type of educational programme with greater focus on personal development and social interaction.


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