From graduates to school leavers, young people are entering the world of work without the soft skills that employers need.

Employers can take steps to help address this. And it begins with education.

Build links with your local schools

Local education providers are crying out for businesses to connect with them.

Inspire school leavers

You could offer a careers talk during school assembly and share your own job experiences. This can open students’ eyes to career paths they may not have considered before, or inspire them to explore alternative qualifications.

Prepare school leavers

Alternatively, members of your team could get involved in activities such as mock interviews or employability workshops. These instil the importance of soft skills such as team work, communication, and time management to young people.

Recruit school leavers

If you collaborate with schools in your community, you can also enhance your talent pipeline. You’ll be indirectly promoting your business to a potential talent pool of school leavers. This can be particularly beneficial for SMEs with small marketing and recruitment budgets, who don’t have the visibility of larger employers.

How can you get involved?

Many schools do not have the resources to proactively approach you. As an employer, set the wheels in motion and reach out to education providers in your community to find out how you can get involved. Alternatively, approach a local educational charity, which will act as a bridge between your organisation and local schools.

Share your positive experiences

Encourage other businesses to give young people an opportunity to experience the world of work.


Perceptions of apprenticeships are now changing, from No.10 down to your next door neighbour. But it’s other businesses that may need convincing that an apprenticeship is a viable option for them.

If you’ve experienced the benefits of an apprenticeship scheme, share your organisation’s story. Create a positive case study that you can share with industry colleagues, clients and partners. Share your experiences on social media and at networking events.

Become part of the dialogue about the positive impact of apprenticeships. Demonstrate that these make business sense in addition to offering school leavers and other young people opportunity

Work experience

The same goes for work experience and internships. Help alter the preconception that internships are poorly paid labour. Change the belief that work experience placements consist of endless coffee runs, filing and photo-copying.

If appropriate, give your placement students a voice where they can share their experiences and explain what skills they’ve learnt, be it on your blog, company Facebook page or at an event.

Even a week of work experience can help a young person strengthen their confidence and interpersonal skills, understand office etiquette and accrue invaluable workplace experience.

We can help school leavers develop the soft skills they need

We’re not going to change the skills landscape overnight.

But if employers forge greater connections with local education providers, we can open young people’s eyes to opportunities they might not find out about in school.

And we can be part of a conversation which positively promotes apprenticeships, internships and vocational training to our fellow business leaders.

Find out more

Browse the library: Employability initiatives

Why your organisation needs an ATS: Benefits to your recruitment process

Who are the team behind Hireserve? From graduates to apprentices: Meet the Hireserve team



About the author

Tristan Potter

From candidate experience to flexible working, and from supporting graduates to ATS reports; Hannah's written it all over the years! Hannah has contributed to publications as diverse as The Guardian, UK Recruiter and University Business. She is also the wordsmith behind our whitepapers and guides, from GDPR to Employee Volunteering.