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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Children 'should be allowed to leave school at 14', claims former CBI chief

Children should be allowed to leave school at 14 and start work to boost Britain’s economy, the former head of the Confederation of British Industry has said.

Disruptive pupils would be better off abandoning mainstream education and “earning a few bob” to encourage growth, Lord Jones of Birmingham believes.

The former Labour Trade Minister said British businesses are struggling through a lack of skilled young people, meaning employers are forced to hire workers from overseas.

Allowing youngsters to embark on vocational training and get jobs at 14 would fill the skills gap while stimulating economic growth through increased spending, Lord Jones said.

However teaching leaders warned that the idea would lead to millions of young people becoming “trapped” in low-paid jobs, having dropped out of academic studies without basic levels of literacy and numeracy.

The suggestion comes as official GDP figures show Britain’s economy stagnated between April and June with growth down to 0.2 per cent from the 0.5 per cent expansion seen in the previous quarter. (more)