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The current business environment is characterised by continuous reorganisation and change. That is why businesses need people who are adaptable, can work with others who may have differing views of the world, can problem solve individually and in teams, can learn new things and can communicate well.

Employability skills are vital because they are generic and relevant to virtually every job in every workplace in every industry – every business and every employee uses them every day.

In order to improve employability skills across the LEP area we have prioritised the development of the following projects:

  • A West of England Apprenticeship Hub
  • A West of England Chartermark
  • Business in Schools Network
  • Employment & Skills Task Group focussed on the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone
  • Creative Skills Hub

The LEP Employability Group meets bi-monthly and as part of its activity reviews the Labour Market Report.

School/college leaver employability skills
Employers expect candidates who have recently left school, college or full-time training to have different skill levels to more established employees. Employers want young people entering their first job to be good at:

  1. Communication skills
  2. Literacy skills
  3. Numeracy skills
  4. Enthusiasm/commitment
  5. Team-working skills
  6. Timekeeping
  7. Problem-solving skills
  8. General IT skills
  9. Personal presentation
  10. Customer-care skills
  11. Business awareness
  12. Vocational job-specific skills

The skills are shown ranked in order of importance to employers. The most critical skill for employment is communication. Employers expect to see the top six skills fully developed in young candidates. It is a fundamental requirement at the time of securing a first job to have functional literacy and numeracy skills. The lack of literacy skills is often a ‘deal breaker’ for employers.

Attitude is also important – employers want young people to turn up on time and show enthusiasm and commitment. Employers are willing to train young people in specific job related skills, particularly during their first years of employment, but are less willing to give them an entry level job without the basics. 

Graduate employability skills           
Employers like to recruit graduates who have gone the ‘extra mile’, 'joined in', can work both individually and in a team, who have shown a capacity for leadership, and demonstrated a willingness to take risks by experiencing new situations and cultures. Today’s economy and society increasingly demands people with an ability to cope with change and adapt quickly to new environments and people. Employers expect graduates to possess a highly developed portfolio of employability skills including: 

People skills - high-level transferable key skills such as the ability to:

  • Work with others in a team
  • Communicate (both orally and in writing)
  • Influence, negotiate and resolve conflict
  • Display interpersonal sensitivity, global and cultural awareness, moral and ethical awareness and the ability to adjust behaviours accordingly

Self-reliance skills

  • Self-awareness, i.e. to demonstrate critical evaluation of the outcomes of professional practice; reflect on and evaluate their own practice
  • Self-management
  • Initiative
  • Resourcefulness

General skills

  • Numeracy
  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • Problem solving, i.e. to be able to identify, analyse and solve problems by prioritising tasks, coping with complexity, setting achievable goals and taking action
  • Planning, i.e. to work with information and handle a range of data, assess risk and draw conclusions (analysis, attention to detail, judgement); apply subject knowledge and understanding from study

Specialist skills

  • IT skills, i.e. to demonstrate the knowledge and experience of working with relevant modern technology; apply and exploit information technology
  • Organisational awareness – appreciate and understand how organisations operate, e.g. through having had experience of the workplace; be aware of organisational culture, policies and processes; understand basic financial and commercial principles; appreciate and demonstrate enterprise and innovation


Related organisations

Related organisations

The LEP involves organisations from business, local authorities, education and training, and Government departments and agencies
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Sector and cross cutting groups

Sector and cross cutting groups

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