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Tesco director attacks education standards

Tesco executive director Lucy Neville-Rolfe has criticised the standard of school-leavers coming into the industry.

The Tesco director described UK school-leavers as lacking basic skills and in general possessing an attitude problem during a speech this morning at the Institute of Grocery Distribution’s conference on skills.

She said: “We are seeing basic problems with literacy and numeracy. And I would say that many school-leavers have what you might call an attitude problem. They don’t seem to understand the importance of a tidy appearance and have problems with time-keeping. Often they haven’t learnt to work in a team. Some seem to think that the world owes them a living.”

Neville-Rolfe, who has been group corporate and legal affairs director of Tesco since 1997 and previously an adviser to John Major, added that there was a problem with today’s young and their attitude to work, which needed to be addressed.

“Forgive me for sounding like an old fogey, but I find that attitudes towards basic things to do with going to work have changed. More school-leavers seem to have a problem with things like turning up on time and coming to an interview properly dressed. Working as a team is very important in a business like ours, but team-working also seems to come harder for some.”

She added that lessons learnt from Tesco in recent years to support its young staff include encouraging aspiration and rewarding people properly.