Our less academic young people are finding it increasingly difficult to get jobs.
The issue was highlighted to me by Steve Gardner-Collins, director of Visit Gloucestershire and a hotelier himself.
He was blunt—our hospitality industry here in the county just hasn’t got enough young people.
“This generation don’t see it as a viable career”, he tells me.
“What’s compounding the problem on skills is the issue on what colleges and universities can do to help our hospitality industry.
“The reality is that we are frightening young people who think they have to go on a course or go to university to get a job in this sector.
“The message that needs to come out here is that there is a job for everybody at different levels.
“Young people don’t need to go to college or university to come and work in hospitality—they just need good people skills and the ability to provide great customer service—that’s where it begins”.
Steve is so right, and I stress that I am not in any way trying to detract from apprenticeships or degree apprenticeships.
But the fact is that we have a lot of young people who are unable to pass the requisite english and maths at GCSE O Level at school to qualify for a college apprenticeship course.
Steve’s thoughts were reiterated to me by two councillors at an event last week.
So, what we are we going to do about it?
Secondary schools must emphasise the importance of english and maths to proceed to an apprenticeship.
Our Further Education colleges like SGS struggle with a lot of our young people who fail at school and then have to start again at college to pass these exams when they really just want to be in a job.
And I feel our schools need to give far better careers advice to our young people at an earlier stage.
I was pretty much an 11-Plus failure but after writing to a hundred local newspapers I finally got a trainee reporter’s job on the South London Observer at 17.
By 23 I was a reporter on the Daily Mail in Manchester.
Ian Mean is vice chair of GFirstLEP