Jobs: There are so many PLEBS out there!

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THE south east of England is a region of PLEBS, according to new research from WorldSkills London 2011.

Today’s PLEBS are People Lacking Everyday Basic Skills and nearly 70,000 adults in the South East are affected.

When asked about a range of simple everyday skills, one in six people in the south east admitted they would be unable to complete even a third of the 15 tasks presented to them.

Six in ten (58 per cent) of people are unable to apply basic first aid to treat a sprained ankle, while half admit they cannot carry out everyday tasks such as changing a car wheel (55 per cent), hanging wallpaper (52 per cent) or putting up a shelf (50 per cent). And over a third of people do not know how to wire a plug (35 per cent).

To address these skills deficiencies, WorldSkills London 2011 has launched Have a Go, which will offer a million opportunities for people to improve their skills by learning from experts.

Executive Director of WorldSkills London 2011 Aidan Jones hopes that people across the UK will take advantage of the chance to learn something new that could prove to be a vital life-skill.

He said: “Our findings clearly demonstrate that there are some people who would struggle to complete some very basic everyday tasks. Things like this can catch people out: something as simple as not being able to turn off the main water supply in your home, which a third of people admit they couldn’t do, could land someone in real trouble if there was a plumbing emergency.

“While London will host the WorldSkills London 2011 Competition in the autumn, showcasing how skills shape our world and some of the best of the world’s skills talent, we’re also using this as an opportunity to inspire people in the UK about their future career possibilities. Between now and October, we’re urging everyone to get involved in the ‘WorldSkills London 2011 Have a Go’ movement and try a new skill – it could prove invaluable.”

And it is the younger generation who are the least skills-savvy, with nearly one in 10 (9 per cent) 18 – 35 year olds admitting they would not be able to complete any of the skills listed. While large numbers of the 18 – 24 cohort are happy carrying out technical tasks such as joining a wifi network (72 per cent) or installing a printer on a computer (77 per cent), they are far less able when it comes to hands-on practical skills such as poaching an egg (55 per cent) or wiring a plug (33 per cent).

Mr Jones added: “There is a very serious underlying message here that young people are leaving school without very basic practical knowledge they need to get on. Things that used to be included in the curriculum are no longer taught in the classroom, nor would it seem are they being passed on by the older generation. WorldSkills London 2011 Have a Go presents a golden opportunity for skills deficient young people and adults to try their hand at something they perhaps don’t even realise they can’t do. I urge everyone across the South East to get involved and Have a Go”

For more information about WorldSkills London 2011 - Have a Go, to take part or to or to find out where opportunities will take place, visit www.worldskillslondon2011.com/haveago.