Business leaders and HR professionals are not confident about the basic skills of school leavers and graduates.

That is according to research released by eLearning provider, IMC (UK) Learning Ltd.

The study entitled Exploring the educational skills gap, found that the overwhelming majority of respondents (83 per cent) believed that many graduates and school leavers did not have the basic skills necessary to succeed in the working environment.

Commenting on the action required to address such issues, Gareth Walters, sales and marketing director at IMC (UK) Learning Ltd, said: "Now more than ever it is important for organisations to provide an effective training programme to bring new employees up to speed in core areas.

"Skills such as literacy, numeracy and IT can be learned through flexible training options with minimal time out of the office."

The research also revealed that some 77 per cent of respondents feared that the country’s competitiveness could be affected by what they perceived as a significant skills gap.

The British Chambers of Commerce and Foundation Degree Forward have joined forces to create courses aimed at addressing the skills gap in small businesses.