A-level results grabbed the headlines recently and rightly so as pupils across Pendle got their hard-earned and well-deserved results.
I recently returned to Nelson and Colne College for a celebration of their “star students” who all got excellent A-level results. The college is currently seeing a £3.6m. investment in its facilities with new classrooms and better sporting facilities for students, all of which bodes well for the future.
I spoke at the celebration praising the students, but also the great teachers at the college who have inspired another generation of teenagers.
I was also pleased to see more students, especially girls, are studying maths and sciences. This is important as these skills are what a lot of employers want, especially some of Pendle’s best manufacturing companies like Graham Engineering, Rolls-Royce, Weston’s and other advanced manufacturers. Right now, wages in the manufacturing sector are rising faster than most other parts of the economy and the number of apprenticeships has doubled. It makes sense for more students to study subjects that businesses regard highly. It is good for employability and for our future economy, too.
Another reassuring development is that more than 20,000 teenagers from the most disadvantaged backgrounds secured degree places, 8% more than last year. I do not believe all young people should go to university, or the Government should set an artificial target. However, as the first in my family to go to university for me it was a fantastic experience and I am sure the vast majority of the 300-plus students leaving Nelson and Colne College for university this year will greatly benefit from it.
With news that unemployment is down and GDP has been revised up, the future is certainly looking brighter for today’s school leavers. It is still a challenging time to be a young person, but I really do believe our country’s best days lie ahead.