Exams crucial key to taking next step
I WOULD like to start by congratulating all of those students who received their GCSE results last week, and those who received their A-level results the week before. I wish all students the best of luck as they either continue in education at school, college or university, or move into the workplace.
Over recent years, there have been calls from employers and universities for more students to study more academic subjects at GCSE, and to take mathematics and science A-levels, in order to help tackle the skill shortages that have been affecting our science and engineering sectors. Students have answered this call across all age groups. The number of students studying academic GCSEs has increased, having halved under the last Labour government. There has also been a significant increase in students studying maths and science at A-level. This is good for young people, good for the economy and good for the country.
GCSEs and A-levels are not only crucial for those wishing to study a range of subjects at university, but are also important for those choosing to take their first step on the career ladder after finishing either set of qualifications.
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For some, the next step will be university. This year, applications to university are very strong, with the highest ever application rate for people from less well-off backgrounds. Higher education is a great long-term investment and a degree is one of the best pathways to a rewarding career.
Vocational education is an option for many, with colleges like the Forest of Dean campus of Gloucestershire College offering a growing range of practical subjects that will put students in a great place to offer much needed services in an increasingly competitive job market.
Others will take their first steps into the world of work. While there is still some way to go, the economy is on the mend, and this is starting to be seen in our job market. Compared to this time last year, there are 16% fewer people aged 18-24 claiming Jobseekers Allowance. In the Forest of Dean, the number of young JSA claimants has dropped by over a quarter.
This is in no small part due to the great work of our local businesses, recruiting and training young people on the job. With their help, our economy is starting on the road to recovery, and today's students are well placed to contribute to this progress.
Contact me: email@example.com | www.markharper.org | House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA | Follow me: @Mark_J_Harper