Things have changed since I was last living in New Zealand. Before 2000, I recall that unemployment was a significant issue. This appears to be no longer the case. More than this, quality recruitment is a challenge for many organisations. You could say it’s an employees market.
I have had the opportunity to chat in depth with two learning managers of large organisations recently. A continuing problem they both expressed was the lack of useable skills in new recruits. In particular, a gaping lack of literacy and communication skills. They observe this as being paired with an unrealistically high expectation of starting salary, conditions and options for career progression. This is not only from secondary school leavers, but those with degrees. This is also being observed in the UK.
It is their job to then take these employees and foster a sense of the need for life long learning and development and to create a learning pathway for them. We as educationalists need to be talking more and learning from people dealing with this kind of teaching and learning. We can help each other. How often do we communicate though?
It strikes me again, how important is the ‘enterprise’ strand woven throughout the new curriculum. Becoming more ‘enterprising’ teachers and fostering more ‘enterprising’ students is part of the answer to the issues described here. The two projects I’m involved with that focus on authentic learning for students and meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships between business and community groups are making significant steps towards bridging the gap between schools and the world of employment.