Recruitment crisis as 'isolated' school leavers enter job market without basic skills

Youngsters who missed the last year of their schooling due to Covid are entering the workplace woefully unprepared and lacking in confidence, employers have warned.

Leanne Giblin needs new staff at her Lichfield pubs
Leanne Giblin needs new staff at her Lichfield pubs

The new recruitment crisis is emerging after employers noticed school leavers have poor social skills and are riddled with anxieties.

School closures, exam cancellations, extended periods of isolation and no part-time jobs available has deprived a generation of children formative and learning experiences.

Leanne Giblin, who runs The Angel and The Duke of York pubs in Lichfield, relies on young staff members, however, the latest crop left her worried for the future.

She said: "We have had a few staff members who have turned 18 recently and were deprived of their schooling because of Covid and they really lack in social skills.

"They are all lovely, and normally fine if they are dealing with staff and customers their own age but the problems start when they have to deal with anyone older.

"They go to pieces, which is a problem in the pub trade or retail where you have to speak to anyone and everyone. Their social skills are so underdeveloped but it is understandable because they never finished their education and have spent a lot of time on their own."

Miss Giblin is a member of both Lichfield's Business Improvement District and Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

She said: "It is not just me who is complaining, this is a big problem which needs to be addressed across all types of businesses. As I say they are lovely kids, but no other generation has lost such important formative experiences as they have.

"They have been isolated for nearly two years, missing out on the experiences which they would find out who they are. But as an employer, we are struggling to get quality staff.

"We always used to get students who returned from university to glass collect or work on the bar but this Christmas we've been told parents have been paying them not to work because they were scared to come to work."

Leanne Giblin

The 37-year-old said: "They don't seem to have the same drive as we did when we were young. We are all saying it, something has to be done."

Wednesbury based Juniper Training specialises in getting 16-18-year-olds apprenticeships and jobs and now holds small classes to improve youngsters' skills.

Juniper recruitment officer Simon Hackett believes youngsters have faced a unique set of challenges due to Covid and need help to prosper in the job market.

He said: "With the pandemic this has been a very difficult time for young people to get the work experience they need to kick start their career.

"We will always do our best to get the young person the high quality work experience they need to progress them on to a job or apprenticeship at the end of our course."

The impact of missing months of school, exams and the end of eleven years of schooling has yet to be properly researched.

The London School of Economics and the University of Exeter have tried to understand how the pandemic has effected pupils. They found in England pupils on average missed 61 days of schooling in the last academic year which has 190 days of schooling.

Professor Stephen Machin said: "Even a few days extra learning loss can have a large impact on educational achievement and life outcomes, and these are big losses of around 60-65 days."

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News