The Minister for Civil Society has created a storm with his remarks about young people needing grit, social skills and discipline to get into employment—apparently businesses want young people to have more of these soft skills to turn them into good recruits. His comments have elicited headlines from The Guardian right through to the Daily Mail.
All the soft skills in the world are no good unless there are jobs out there to get into. But is Nick Hurd wrong about grit?
NPC has worked with charities, social enterprises, academics and funders to identify the key elements young people need to get into and sustain good jobs. There’s real agreement on the seven most important things, outlined in The journey to employment: (1) Personal circumstances; (2) Emotional capabilities; (3) Attitudes to work; (4) Employability skills; (5) Qualifications, education and training; (6) Experience and involvement; and (7) Career management skills.
So although the Minister’s message didn’t go down very well, it seems that businesses, charities and pretty much everyone agrees on the importance of all these elements.
That’s why we’re now working hard to get the JET framework taken up as a shared framework for everyone to use. It will help charities and businesses work better together to get people into work, and ultimately, it will help young people acquire the full range of skills they need to find and sustain employment.
Of course, we need the initial green shoots of economic recovery to flourish so there are more jobs available for young people. But if everyone is working from a shared understanding of what’s needed, it’s much more likely we’ll give young people the chance they deserve.