Ballyclare High School recently held its annual prize distribution on with special guest and former pupil, barrister Margaret Gray.
Principal Mr David Knox told the assembled pupils and guests that it was vital that schools teach the skills sought by employers. He stated:
“We are now seeing a steady flow of jobs into Northern Ireland, good jobs with good salaries that require intelligent and well-educated young people.
“Not all of these jobs are filled with locally grown people, because sometimes there are simply not enough young people with the right skill set and employers are forced to look further afield.
“Schools need to look more carefully at what they are offering to ensure that we are preparing our pupils properly for the jobs that are being created.
“I am glad to say that closer links are now being developed between education and industry to address these problems.
“Communication between both sectors must be supported by Government through continuing to improve careers education, through improving teachers understanding of business and by involving business in determining the content of some of our courses.
“There need to be placements and sabbaticals for teachers to ensure that business and education speak a common language.
“Society and the inspectorate judge schools mainly on their academic results and in the past this school has done very well on that indicator, but we must recognise that employers are looking for a range of skills and attributes that are wider than the purely academic.
“I happen to think that we are an informed school where we aim to create as many relevant experiences as possible to nurture these broader skills through a range of activities.
“We are in good shape, but we are also aware of where and how we can improve, and so we are focussed on the goals and targets of a new three year development plan which will take us to 2017.”