Fiona Blacke responds to Ofsted chief’s comments on young people

12 Sep 2014

Millions of youngsters are too sloppy and slovenly to get jobs because they lack the discipline or skills needed for work, the chief inspector of schools Michael Wilshaw said yesterday on publishing an Ofsted report into 16-18 education.

Responding to his comments, Fiona Blacke, CEO of the National Youth Agency said, “Michael Wilshaw’s remarks on young people are both sweeping and unfair. The Ofsted report criticises the quality of the education provision for 16-18 year olds, but Mr Wilshaw’s comments seem to hold young people personally accountable for the current unacceptably high levels of youth unemployment.

“I agree that raising the school leaving age to 17 and then 18 is not a silver bullet. Employers have been saying for years that academic ability is not the only element and that they need to recruit young people who are prepared for employment with skills like the ability to work in a team, think creatively and motivate themselves. These are the areas where education is failing to prepare our young people for the world of work.

“In our experience youth work has a key role to play in helping young people develop these abilities.  Many of the best performing schools employ youth workers to ensure that their students are able to make the most of their academic skills and successfully make the transition into adulthood and employment. Ofsted should take note.”