A-Level students urged towards apprenticeships by CITB

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A-Level students have been reminded of the value of apprenticeships, as they pick up their exam results.

Although many of those getting their grades today will look to make the transition from school to university, construction is among the growing sectors where apprenticeship opportunities are also available.

The overall A-Level pass rate, which covers grades A* to E, has risen to 98.1% this year, according to the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).

However, the number of students achieving the top grades of A* and A has dipped slightly – from 26% to 25.9%.

Despite the lure of a university career, employers have reminded school leavers of the other options which are now open to them.

For instance, Tracey Locke, group director of HR at the Mace Group, has encouraged young people to explore the opportunities which the construction industry can provide.

Speaking to Sky News, she said: “There are lots of opportunities for people in the construction industry if you want a challenging and varied career. We take people from both academic and vocational backgrounds.”

Ms Locke also encouraged people to get an early taste of the building sector.

She said: “Lots of companies offer summer placements for school leavers and undergraduates, and these can be a good way into the industry.”

The Skills Funding Agency has also emphasised the potential value of apprenticeships to those picking up exam results this month.

It noted that people have the choice of three different apprenticeship levels, with intermediate, advanced, and higher/degree schemes available.

Sue Husband, director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said apprenticeships should be viewed in the same light as university degrees.

She said: “We want it to become the norm for young people to choose between an apprenticeship and university as equally prestigious routes to a great career and secure finances.”

According to the JCQ, maths is still the most popular A-Level subject among students, making up 10.9% of all exam entries. English (10.5%) and biology (7.4%) are the next most popular courses.

Compared with last year, the council said there has been a 2% jump in the number of exams being taken, with people sitting 850,749 overall.