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Round-up of the week

Posted on 23rd October 2015

Employers want young people to get more work experience 

Business leaders in the UK believe more work experience opportunities should be available to young people.

According to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), 82 per cent of businesses believe secondary schools should offer work experience to children aged under 16. Meanwhile, 79 per cent of employers said work experience is the most important way to help young people gain workplace skills, ahead of part-time work and volunteering.

However, the survey showed that 36 per cent of firms - smaller businesses in particular - don't offer any work experience placements to young people. Of those who do, 66 per cent offer placements of up to two weeks, while 47 per cent offer work experience to young people during school holidays. 27 per cent adopted a different approach by arranging visits to their premises for groups of children.

John Longworth, director-general of the BCC, commented: "We won’t bridge the gap between the world of education and the world of work unless young people spend time in workplaces while still at school."

"Work experience will help ensure more young people are prepared for work. It will help close the yawning skills gaps reported by frustrated businesses across the UK, who face huge difficulty filling vacancies at every level."

CBI hails 'encouraging' labour market figures

The latest CBI/Pertemps Labour Market Update has revealed an increase in the number of people in work. 

During the three months to August, the figure rose by 140,000, which is up from 42,000 during the three months to August. The CBI has described the figures as "encouraging", particularly as they also show unemployment has dropped throughout this period.

Throughout the three months to August, the number of unemployed people declined by 79,000, which meant 1.8 million individuals were out of work and seeking unemployment. As a result, the unemployment rate fell to 5.4 per cent, which the CBI pointed out is very close to its pre-recession rate of 5.2 per cent.

BCC calls on government to continue cutting the deficit

The government has been urged to carry on working to cut Britain's budget deficit by the British Chambers of Commerce.

Official figures revealed that public sector net borrowing in September 2015 was £1.65 billion lower than it had been a year earlier, while public sector net debt accounts for 80.6 per cent of GDP.

Chief economist at the BCC David Kern has therefore urged the government to keep focusing on cutting the deficit, as it is "broadly on target" to meet the deficit reduction forecast by the OBR earlier this year.

However, he said restoring stability to the public finances remains a "major task", which means the government must continue reducing public spending.

"The government must also look to boost economic growth through investment and exports, as our recent Quarterly Economic Survey has shown that export orders fell in both the manufacturing and services sectors in the last quarter," Mr Kern commented.

"Only the successful implementation of this dual strategy will make it possible to create an environment that supports wealth creation and enables businesses to drive economic growth."