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Teachers and firms at odds on student abilities

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Survey: Alastair Blair, Ireland managing director for Accenture

Survey: Alastair Blair, Ireland managing director for Accenture

Survey: Alastair Blair, Ireland managing director for Accenture

The education sector and industry are at odds over the preparedness of students for the working world.

This is according to a report from global consulting group Accenture.

While the majority - two thirds - of secondary teachers questioned feel students are ready for the world of work when they leave school, the sentiment is not echoed by businesses.

The report found that less than one in four employers think Ireland's education sector is keeping pace with the needs of industry.

Meanwhile, just 13pc of employers believe graduates are very well equipped to meet the needs of the future workforce.

So-called 'soft' skills, such as communication, having a work ethic, teamwork and problem-solving, are seen as most needed by employers for the workforce of the future.

Alastair Blair, managing director at Accenture in Ireland, said: "I think employers see people have strong skills whether coming out of secondary level or particularly out of third-level education, but it is this adaptability and perhaps the attitude and the softer skills that industry are now craving."

The Learning to Lead report also reinforces the Government's National Skills Strategy 2025 paper, which points to the need for better alignment between education sectors, as well as greater involvement of employers in the development and provision of learning.

"We have a good education system in Ireland… [but] this is more than just a research announcement - it's a call to action for a stronger approach to how Government, business and education can work together to shape a society fit for the opportunities of tomorrow," Mr Blair added.

More than 600 teachers, parents, young adults and employers participated in the research.

Irish Independent