Tackling the Skills Gap

 In News

Work the Change tackles the skills gap by preparing students for the school-to-work transition through employability workshops.

One of the youth unemployment crisis causes is the skills gap. This is the disparity between the skills young people possess post-school and the skills employers want in their employees. The skills gap means thousands of young people find themselves unqualified for the workplace while employers struggle to find suitable hires despite a massive applicant pool. The skills gap is part of what makes the school-to-work transition so difficult for young people.

Youth unemployment in the UK stands at 17%. Currently, one in six young people in the UK are NEET (not in education, employment or training), and 48% of these NEETs have no paid work experience. 75% of British businesses believe an even more significant skills crisis will hit in the next three years.

As Youth Employment UK (YEUK) points out in their report on Young People’s Experience of Careers Education, young people are often blamed for their struggles to transition from the classroom to the workplace. They are blamed for sparse CVs that lack prior work experience. They are blamed for not knowing how to apply appropriately for jobs.


But this blame is misplaced, according to the survey accompanying YEUK’s report. Every single young person questioned said schools needed to do more to support young people. Just 11% said they were given CV and application advice in school, and though 58% met with a career advisor, only 1% received advice about all of their future options.

The young people YEUK interviewed stated what they wanted from their schools, and it’s these quotes that prove Work the Change is on the right track. Its mission, lesson plans, methodology and results answer the concerns raised by young people about careers education in the UK.

“School is nothing like ‘the real world’ so we need as much information as we can get because we have no idea what we’re in for.” – YEUK

With its CV writing, job interview, teamwork and self-discovery workshops, Work the Change has been specifically developed to fill the skills gap and give young people the confidence, knowledge and abilities they need to move successfully from school to work. It delves into what employers want, why it’s important to get a part-time job and/or do extracurricular activities and how students can articulate the employability skills – like communication, organisation, and interpersonal – that they already have.

“Young people should be given a more realistic representation of the world of work instead of being shown a generic CV which will supposedly get you a job.” -YEUK


Work the Change gets young people thinking of a future that gels with their passion, interests and unique skills sets. It helps them understand the steps they need to take to get there and the importance of getting active about their future right away. By operating within schools, Work the Change helps students link curricula with employability skills and talents with prospects.

“More information about different training options and all the different sorts of careers you could go into with the subjects you are studying and enjoy.” -YEUK

Work the Change’s reliance on peer-to-peer training, an innovative training method that benefits both trainers and trainees, adds a unique level of effectiveness to Work the Change. Sixth Formers (18 year-olds) teach Year 10s (15 year-olds) who go on to work with Year 7s (12 year-olds). Lessons are reinforced, leadership skills are practised and role models emerge. Work the Change becomes not just a training programme but an activity worthy of mention on a CV.

“As a young person, having a clear path for the future can be difficult and knowing where to start with this is hard. Having guidance and inspiration in this is extremely useful especially when offering possible career paths.” – YEUK

If you would like Work the Change to visit your school or have any inquiries about the programme, please email rosey@peacechild.org or call +44 (0) 1763 274 459.

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