Small business owners rate soft skills as integral when hiring youth, but don’t feel that those skills are getting enough emphasis in high school.
A Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey found over 56 per cent of Saskatchewan employers were dissatisfied with how high schools prepare youth for employment, particularly right out of high school.
Prairie spokesperson for the CFIB, Marilyn Braun-Pollon, says it seems there seems to be more of a focus on preparing students for higher education instead of work.
She describes the soft skills as having a good attitude, being energetic and willing to take direction, having strong communication skills and basic literacy, and arriving on time and dressed appropriately.
The CFIB would like to see governments and schools create more work-integrated learning opportunities, such as co-ops and internships.
Braun-Pollon suggests high schools and post-secondary institutions collaborate with the business community to revamp curriculums to emphasize the basic skills.
She says blue collar jobs shouldn’t be stigmatized, because our workforce needs tradespeople as much as it needs tech and white collar workers.