You are here


The more research I do, the more employers I talk to the importance of positive attitudes, key work skills and the importance of gaining relevant experience are highlighted time and time again. I have looked at this in previous blogs; work experience, the importance of passion, authenticity and key work skills.  But I really want you to hear this because, while it’s highly likely that your tutor, your careers adviser, your contact at The BASE, etc. will have already mentioned this to you as well, you might still not fully appreciate the WHY.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) speaks for 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors which make up roughly one-third of the private sector workforce. In 2016 the CBI published their education and skills survey, “The Right Combination”. Having read through the report, some clear themes emerge;

“By far the most important factor employers weigh up when recruiting school and college leavers is their attitude to work (89%) followed by their aptitude for work (66%).”

“Businesses look beyond academic results and formal qualifications to wider attitudes and aptitudes when recruiting school and college leavers. But that doesn’t mean qualifications are unimportant. They are part of signalling effort, overall ability and a readiness to learn that businesses want to see in their employees.”

This is further supported by the findings of the Department for Education’s, Employer Perspectives Survey (EPS) published in June 2017.

“Across the UK, where education leavers were found to be poorly prepared, this was most commonly due to them having a poor attitude or a perceived lack of working world or life experience.”

But let’s look more locally, shall we? Just a few days ago (12th January) a prominent local employer, with a high profile (and international) client base published an article giving tips to potential candidates applying to join them. In a very helpful and insightful post they make the following statement;

“More often than not, you won’t be exactly what we’re looking for, but that isn’t a problem at all. If you can demonstrate a willingness to learn and a good work ethic that can make up for a lot.”

Here is another example from one of our Apprenticeship partners, the RNLI;

“Most importantly, we look for applicants who show a willingness to learn, share our values (trustworthy, courageous, selfless, and dependable)…”

There, we see it again; attitude and aptitude matter. The work skills I talked about in my last blog are crucial for a wide variety of jobs, for learning and also everyday life. They go hand in hand with employability skills i.e. the ability to write a CV or personal statement, prepare for and negotiate an interview (whether that is for employment, a university, etc.). But it all begins with that positive, teachable attitude. We all need this mix, throughout our lives. You don’t learn these things once and that’s it – change is constant and we have to keep pace - they need to be used, practised and updated throughout our lifetime.

Throughout my working life, I have learnt that attitude – my own included – is a choice, rather than a “default setting” that we are born with. This might be news to you? Either consciously or unconsciously, we choose the attitude we adopt minute by minute, hour by hour. Perhaps we adopt the attitude of those around us; an unconscious decision more often than not. The unconscious decisions tend to become habits and are often limiting but I will talk more about that in my next blog.