School leavers urged to start-up

A-level pass rates up slightly over 2004

As A-level results published this morning show an increase in pass rates, a prominent business lobby has encouraged students to consider a career in enterprise.

For the 23rd consecutive year, A-level pass rates climbed higher, as 96.2% earned at least a grade E this year, slightly above the 96% who passed in 2004.

Approximately 178,700 students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive an A-grade in the post, up by 0.4% from 2004 to 22.8% of all entries.

“Today’s results are a reflection of the hard work of our young people and the rising standards of teaching in our schools and colleges,” said schools minister Andrew Adonis.

“I am pleased to see an upward trend in the numbers overall taking Modern Foreign Languages at AS level, and the rising numbers opting for languages that are increasingly important in business such as Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.”

Entries for Mandarin Chinese at AS increased by almost 10% this year from 3,289 to 3,596.

Echoing the government’s well wishes, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) congratulated students’ hard work but urged those weary of study to consider starting their own business as a ‘credible alternative’ to university.

“After three years of exams, A-level students can feel like they are on a production line, with university and conventional employment the only logical next steps in the process,” said Norman Mackel, education chairman of the FSB.

“Being your own boss is a great aspiration for young people and there is plenty of assistance available to help turn a good idea into reality. Entrepreneurship is about seizing new opportunities and taking risks which is why it is so vital to the economy and what makes it such and exciting career choice.”

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