Careers advice in schools is on "life support" with too few youngsters equipped to cope with the world of work, the head of Britain's employers warned today.
John Cridland, director general of the CBI, told a conference of headteachers, warned the Government's decision to give schools sole responsibility for providing careers advice was having "serious consequences" for young people.
Speaking to the Grammar School Heads Association, he said it was right for the Government to give schools the freedom to run their own affairs - but warned it had adopted "too laissez faire an approach" over careers education.
"The jump from school or college to work is getting bigger year-by-year, decade-by-decade," he said. "The education system needs to develop the rigorous, rounded and grounded young people who can make that leap.
"The competition for jobs has never been so tough with young people hit by a double whammy of slow economic growth and a rapidly changing labour market. Yet it's alarming there is such a big mismatch between the skills that young people have and the realities of the workplace, We cannot afford to waste talent and investment when the long-term outlook is still so fragile."
As part of a government review of the careers service, responsibility for providing it was switched to schools from last September. However, the National Careers Service, an advisory body, has warned that too few 13 to 18-year-olds are getting face-to-face careers advice as a result of the switch.