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Date: 16/08/2018

Teachers across the UK are overjoyed as students line up to receive this year’s A-Level results.

Initial reports show that students are celebrating receiving a good set of academic results, with an increase in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) exams. 36.2% of all entries were in one of the STEM subjects, which is a 1.7% rise compared to 2017.
Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce’s President, Andrea Borwell-Fox, has been working hard to not only promote female entrepreneurs through the Women’s Business Forum, but also women in the STEM sectors. Whilst young males are still more likely to study these subjects, it is fantastic to see the popularity growing amongst young females.
The STEM industries are facing huge skills shortages, and whilst female uptake is on the rise, there is still a shortfall of STEM graduates each year – according to the British Chambers of Commerce. The concern is that the skills gap could be set to widen if the interest in science and science-related subjects continues to fall.
Speaking of the results today, Sharon Smith, CEO of the Chamber, said:
“Congratulations to those who are celebrating their A-Level results today, and I wish them well on their exciting journey into university, work or apprenticeships.
“Whilst many students are looking forward to going to university following their success, it is fantastic to see students considering apprenticeships as an alternative route. However, to maximise the number of people taking advantage of this route, we urgently need to see reform of the system.
“Apprenticeships allow young people to work alongside experienced staff and gain job-specific skills when gaining new qualifications - this ultimately helps firms in the two counties to keep skilled staff at the organisations in the heart of Herefordshire and Worcestershire.”
In January this year, the Chamber unveiled its manifesto; compiled from the results of surveys conducted with Members to highlight concerns within the local business community. One of the key issues raised from all sectors was skills, and retaining skills in the two counties.
The Chamber has been working hard to facilitate a greater collaboration between the worlds of business and education, enabling our next generation economies to be flexible, highly skilled and world class.
Throughout 2018, the Chamber of Commerce has appointed new Enterprise Advisers to assist in schools in Worcestershire. The national programme was created to allow firms to work more closely with schools and help with the skills agenda, by encouraging business engagement.
As well as the introduction of the scheme, the Chamber has been lobbying for an apprenticeship system that encourages increased participation in quality training by companies of all sizes, particularly SMEs, but also to make work experience mandatory for Year 10s and encourage work placements to be made part of teacher training.