“What key employability skills should my child be developing – and how?” Advice for parents

Employers are looking for employability skills in young people, but what are those skills and how can you help your child develop them? Careers expert Julie Poppleton offers advice.

I speak to a wide range of employers, across all sectors and at all levels… and the question of employability skills for young people gets the most common feedback. Employers feel that young people do not have the employability skills they are looking for. Many employers will recruit on these skills and not on qualifications alone.

What employability skills does your child need?

These seem to be the most commonly asked-for skills :

Ways in which your child can develop employability skills

The skills above can be achieved in a number of ways:

  • Part-time work or work experience
  • Sports, Drama and any other extracurricular School or College activities (like school STEM clubs)
  • Clubs, societies, and voluntary work, including the Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • Online learning ( at the moment there are is a wide range of free online courses including anything from being a Personal Coach, Marketing and being a Teaching Assistant )
  • Young Professional Training (this is a free skills training programme for young people aged 14-24, all done with online learning and available from Youth Employment UK).

Free careers advice resources for parents

About Julie Poppleton

Julie Poppleton is a Director of Careers. She is a Level 7 Careers Leader and a Level 6 qualified Careers Practitioner. Her leadership responsibilities and expertise include Employer, Stakeholder and Community Partnership Engagement including parents and families. She sits on a Senior Leadership Team for a Secondary School in Staffordshire and her additional commitments include:
  • Vice Chair – Southern Skills Employers and Educators Board
  • Chair Staffordshire Careers Professionals Forum
  • Executive Board Member Tamworth & Lichfield District Chamber of Commerce
  • Member of the Staffordshire Education and Skills Strategic Group
  • Lead school for the Careers and Enterprise/Stoke and Staffs LEP Careers
  • Hub and member of the Steering Group Committee
  • Moderator for Inspired Teenager Plus
  • Careers peer awards reviewer for Careers and Enterprise Company


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For more information, please email info@youthemployment.org.uk or call 01536 513388.

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