TRAINING and education must link job seekers more directly with the world of work, employers told guests a Penrith business breakfast last week.
Employers, employment agencies and educators attended the breakfast, hosted by employment and skills group JobQuest.
The chief executive of Schools Industry Partnership, Ian Palmer, said that work placements were the best way to transform slow students into star pupils.
"When a teacher tries to explain a subject, a lot of kids just say 'yes'," Mr Palmer said.
"But when an employer can relate it directly to what an employee is doing, it hits home."
He said one example was of a carpentry student whose attitude changed after his work experience with a building company.
"When a kid does work with a real builder he goes back to class knowing he must learn his stuff," Mr Palmer said.
The manager of Penrith's Koorong Books, Warren Ward, said his business had helped train many people who went on to stable careers.
"They come away from here with a piece of paper that says they've worked with us; a certificate that will help them with further employment," Mr Ward said.
He dismissed any suggestions that only work experience, rather than certification, mattered.
"If it shows they've done two years' study, it shows they've got the application and the commitment for the job."
Mr Palmer said established employees also had roles to play as mentors to new workers.
"If employers and employees can train students in the opportunities in their industry, students can get much more out of that than reading websites."