Manufacturers employing school and college leavers have reported “significant concern” about their suitability for work.
The findings, published in the 2015 Annual Manufacturing report, published by The Manufacturer magazine, suggest that although nearly nine out of 10 respondents said they had given a first job to a school, Further Education (FE) college leaver or university graduate, nearly half said they found that 16-18 year olds either “poorly” or “very poorly” prepared for work.
University graduates, however, are much more highly rated. Two-thirds (66 percent) of graduate recruits were described as “well” or “very well” prepared for the workplace.
The questions were asked in relation to the skills shortage and retention issues that are currently affecting the manufacturing industry, however, despite the ongoing challenge, the report finds the UK manufacturing sector in “broadly positive” territory.
Three-quarters of UK manufacturers are “quite optimistic” about the British economy over the coming 12-36 months and 85 percent believe that the government is managing the general economy well. Confidence is lower when it comes to manufacturing specifically, with a total of 58 percent positive.
It is expected that the global economic situation will have a negative effect on the UK economy, but British manufacturers are seeking out new markets and growth opportunities beyond the borders of the EU. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed say they ‘operate globally’ – i.e., in two or more countries – and almost as many see developing international trade as “very important” or “vital” for future growth.
The report also finds that UK manufacturing businesses are stronger financially and are less reliant on traditional overdrafts and that investment in plant, automation and IT are significantly up.
The full report can be downloaded here.