Businesses say high schools are poor at preparing youth for working world
TORONTO High schools don’t adequately prepare students for the workforce and they should put more emphasis on teaching skills required by employers, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses concludes.
The CFIB’s “Hire Education” report says employers are overwhelmingly more interested in young employees with good motivation, attitude and general skills like communications than in their specific knowledge or previous work experience.
But it says only about one-third of businesses surveyed indicated they were satisfied with the job that high schools were doing, compared with 53 per cent who were dissatisfied and 15 per cent who didn’t know.
Community colleges and universities ranked higher in satisfaction at 51 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively, and lower in dissatisfaction at 25 per cent and 26 per cent.
Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB’s senior vice-president of national affairs, said Thursday she hopes governments, schools and businesses get more involved in co-op and work-integrated learning opportunities for youth.
“Our members who use them find them to be really good and … often end up hiring those people,” Pohlmann said in an interview.
She said there’s more emphasis on preparing high school students for post-secondary education — rather than a trade or other type of jobs that need to be filled.
The CFIB’s 29-page report contains more than two dozen recommendations, about half to government and educators but also to youth and small businesses.
However, the report doesn’t go so far as to advocate more use of social media or marketing, a recommendation of the Business Development Bank of Canada — a federal Crown corporation focused on small- and mid-sized businesses.
CFIB’s report is based partly on an online survey of 6,398 small business owners.