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News - 18 August 2012

UK Business Community Reaction to Exam Results: Who do you employ A-Level leaver or Graduate?

On Thursday 16th August, 335,000 students in England, Northern Ireland & Wales learned their A Level results and, for the first time in 20 years, the numbers for top grade passes have fallen. A and A* grades are down from 8% in 2011 to 7.9%.

However, the overall pass rate this year is 98%, up from 97.8% in 2011 and is the 30th consecutive year that the pass rate has risen.

With the possibility that the school leaving age could be raised to 18 within the next two years, with students being given the option to either go into A-Levels or a more vocational path, Neil Bentley, the Confederation of British Industry's Deputy Director-General commented on the need to develop quality alternatives for those not following the A-level track:
“With more employers looking to hire at 18 – often through innovative ‘learn-while-you-earn’ schemes – the Government should listen to business views to ensure exam reforms help better prepare young people for work and life.”

EEF, the manufacturers' association, also had a viewpoint on today's A level results from the employer's perspective with CEO, Terry Scuoler, saying there were not enough students studying mathematics, the sciences and tech-related subjects.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) also revealed small employers' attitudes toward training and skills, releasing their Training and Skills Member Panel report (August 2012) to coincide with today's A-level results.

The report recommended, amongst other things, that education institutions should forge closer ties with small businesses, particularly in local communities, to identify business needs and better prepare students for work.

Lavinia Newman comments that: “Many smaller employers report that A level students offer good value to employers as the A-level leaver expects that they will learn on the job and the employer will provide relevant training in the important skills for that role, offering day release for technical training if required. Smaller organisations have found that graduates have higher expectations of swift rates of progression which are sometimes unrealistic and are therefore more liable to change jobs after a short period of employment.”

If you need any help and advice on employment and recruitment issues for Growing Your Businesses or Academy Schools audit or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman at ABDS to discuss how we can help.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

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