NEW research published today reveals half of young people believe their education has not prepared them for the world of work.

The CBI survey of more than 1,000 people aged between 17 and 23 also highlighted complaints about a lack of opportunities to experience work. John Allan, CBI president, describes the findings as disturbing and says: “Teachers, schools and colleges deserve better support and business must play its part.”

With the huge uncertainty surrounding Brexit (uncertainty being the understatement of the year) having a homegrown, highly skilled, productive workforce is going to be more important than ever.

Schools and colleges must take some responsibility by forging closer links with employers and making sure work placements are regular, meaningful and relevant – not the token efforts they can be.

The government has taken some steps in the right direction – the introduction of new T-levels, a technical alternative to A-levels, should help in creating work-ready college-leavers, although the roll-out of the courses could be done more quickly.

Ultimately, however, for real change to take place, the government must give more priority to further education. Sector leaders described last month’s budget as a “missed opportunity” to address the serious financial challenges facing colleges.

The skills gap cannot be closed without proper commitment, and sustained investment, at national level.