Parents and teachers fear young people entering the workplace could be in for a rude awakening, as they are not prepared for the competitive nature of the work environment.
Research commissioned by Find a Future, the educational organisation which manages WorldSkills UK Skills Competitions, finds 85% of parents and teachers are worried that their children are heading for a wake-up call once they start work because they are not used to losing or competing against others. Nearly two thirds (62%) of parents also say the school their child goes to could be doing more to encourage competitive behaviour.
Indeed, nearly a quarter (23%) of parents admit they have complained to the school because there is not enough emphasis on competition and winning and losing.
The findings have been released as 41 of the UK’s most talented young people prepare to represent the nation at WorldSkills São Paulo in August (11-16 August 2015). After two years in training, Team UK will take on around 1000 young people from all over the globe to compete for gold in a host of different vocational skills ranging from Aircraft Maintenance and Welding to Floristry and Visual Merchandising.
Carole Stott, chair of Find a Future, said: “We must ensure young people are adequately prepared for their working life. Whether they are competing for a job or for a promotion, or helping their employer win new business, learning how to deal with success or failure effectively is vital to help young people learn and develop their business acumen.
“As Team UK prepares to represent us in Brazil and compete to be the best of the best, we would encourage the nation to support them as they would our sporting stars and look at ways of reintroducing competition into their own working lives to ensure that all can reach their full potential.”
The research also reveals that one third of parents and teachers believe that children who have competed against others during their school life will go on to perform better and succeed in their work life. Competition is also seen to help build the “soft” skills required to succeed at work – parents believe that children who have taken part in challenges will be more ambitious (51%) and successful (41%) whether they win or lose.
World Cup winning rugby star Will Greenwood MBE added: “Competition makes you strive to be better – as an individual and as part of a team. Whether in the trading room of a financial institution, or on the rugby pitch, I have always believed it has improved my skills and my performance. Without it, I certainly would not have reached my own personal goals, and been able to assist those around me to achieve at such a high level.
“In any walk of life, experiencing success as an individual is a great motivator, and helps to breed a culture that strives to succeed whether in education or employment. Successful individuals generate excitement around them, which translate to improved performances as part of a group – either in education or business – and this in turn can only help to boost performances across the country as a whole: great news for the British economy in the longer term!”
Chris Hanson, who will be representing Team UK in Construction Metal Work and works for Richard Alan Engineering in Yorkshire said: “Being selected for WorldSkills São Paulo 2015 is an incredible honour for all of us, and is something I’ve been working towards personally for over two years. I’m not sure I would be as hungry for success and driven to be the best I can be if it wasn’t for exposure to competitions – and I would love to bring back the Gold Medal.”
WorldSkills competitions are held around the world to showcase and inspire world-class excellence in skills and introduce young people to a variety of skilled careers, by providing an opportunity to interact with brands across all sectors of industry. WorldSkills São Paulo takes place from 11 to 16 August 2015. To find out more about WorldSkills UK Skills Competitions, visit worldskillsuk.org.