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Association of Graduate Recruiters: Work experience could improve eventual employability of students struggling to gain a university place

The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has advised students struggling for a place at university to consider taking a year of work experience to improve their employment chances.

On the eve of A-level results day, Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, said: "With many universities already declaring they are full and the introduction of A* grade A-levels, this year’s clearing process will be more stressful than ever before for school leavers wishing to go to university.

"While our membership believes a university degree still has a very high currency with employers and a significant effect on a person’s earning potential over a lifetime, students shouldn’t be pressured and rush into a decision during clearing, but take a step back and think about whether going to university and studying for a degree is the right path for them.

"My advice for school leavers that feel university is the right route for them, but miss out on a place this year, is to consider getting some broader experience – either in the workplace or by volunteering – which will help strengthen their application to university next time around.

"Employers do not penalise graduates who have taken a year out before going into higher education; indeed many regard the experience as providing added value."