Understanding Commercial Ability

Sector-Specific Know-How

Detailed knowledge for a particular career.

What is it?

This is the technical knowledge, experience and training (plus any relevant academic qualifications) that meet the needs of a particular industry or job. Building on broader generic skills, attitudes and behaviours, it is the fine tuning required for a truly successful career.

Why is it important?

The UK is suffering a skills gap, with 1.19 million unfilled vacancies in Autumn 2022. Employers believe this is due to few young people with industry-relevant qualifications and ever-increasing competition for candidates with them. Add poor careers advice for specific sectors and a lack of awareness of ways into employment and the need for action is clear.

What does it look like?

These hard skills help young people hone their subject choices based on a deeper understanding of available sectors and roles. This may include early hands-on experience through apprenticeships right up to specialist degrees. It will demand better careers planning, increased employer engagement, clearer career pathways and supported decision making. It should also continue through workplace training and professional development to keep specific expertise relevant.

What difference does it make?

Career planning must start early. Education prioritises academic disciplines and wider essential skills. Most young people want to learn about employability skills between from age 12, yet only 30% of them rate their careers education as Good or Excellent.

There are many effective organisations in this area and we would seek only to help them collaborate more effectively and optimise their impact on young people.

Sector-Specific Know-How in context:

Commercial Ability Cycle

The Components of Commercial Ability

Commercial Ability is comprised of five inter-dependent and mutually-reinforcing components.

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