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A Level results: Recruitment and Employment Confederation issues advice to the young on employability

To coincide with the release of the A-level results today, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has issued practical tips for the next generation of workers and has at the same time called on Government and the business community to do more to build bridges into the world of work.


The REC’s latest JobsOutlook survey found the short-term hiring intentions of employers have been affected due to the ongoing economic uncertainty. However, the good news for those looking to jump straight onto the careers ladder or to take a gap year is that an increasing number of employers expect to be hiring over the next 12 months.

Findings from JobsOutlook also reveal 31% of employers expect to increase their use of temporary workers in the next 12 months. This may provide opportunities for school leavers to develop practical experience of the world of work.

Commenting on the outlook for those receiving their A-level results, Kevin Green, the REC’s chief executive, said: "This is an exciting but daunting time for many young people. School leavers are facing a perfect storm of an extremely competitive jobs market, a lack of effective guidance and a shortage of university places. However, our advice is to remain positive as there are still job opportunities out there. The key is to be aware of what skills employers are looking for, what the growth sectors are and to make the most of different routes into work such as internships and temporary assignments.

"Those going on to university should complement their academic studies with some work experience. This will put them in good stead when it comes to entering the jobs market and will help to build the competencies that employers are seeking. As well as fundamental abilities such as communication and team-working, these could include commercial awareness, project planning, analysis and customer skills."

The REC recently published the findings of its Youth Employment Taskforce, which focused on the practical barriers currently facing young jobseekers.

Underlining the need to provide more support to the latest cohort of school leavers as well as to other young jobseekers, Green added: "The economic downturn has already had a disproportionate effect on those aged between 16 and 24. Urgent action is needed from Government, business and education providers to build bridges into the world of work, address the current expectations gap and avert the threat of a ‘lost generation’."

Sylvia Perrins, chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Financial Services (NSAFS), added: "A-level results day is a full of mixed emotions. For those achieving the grades needed to secure a place in higher education, it is a reason to celebrate. There will be many school leavers, however, who have not gained a place or have decided university is not their next step. For this expanding group of young people, it is critical we find ways to ensure they continue to develop their skills and are able to successfully enter the job market and contribute to the productivity of UK plc.

"Today’s challenging economic climate means opportunities for the younger generation are far more limited. The Government, parents and employers must understand our young people are currently facing a serious education and employment crisis. I believe we must all work together to open up alternate routes into employment including apprenticeships, part-time degrees, internships and other courses that can enhance a young person’s employability skills. Many employers have either reduced or frozen their graduate and school-leaver recruitment but it is essential to provide opportunities for the wide range of young talent who are currently unemployed.

"We are committed to working with our employer partners to create employment opportunities for young people within their businesses, whether through apprenticeships, graduate placement schemes or internship opportunities. We must all take responsibility for making the most of the future, and the emerging talent to be found in the younger generation entering adulthood at this difficult time."