A Level Results Day 2016: Record university offers as top grades slip

A record number of A-level students have got into university today, the chief executive of UCAS has said.

Students have been finding out their A-level and AS results. Photo credit: Gareth Fuller / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Around 424,000 students have been accepted to UK universities and colleges so far this year– up 3 per cent on A level results day in 2015.

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Mary Curnock Cook, UCAS Chief Executive, said: “This is a big day for hundreds of thousands of young people who have chosen to kick start their adult life with higher education – well done to all of them.

“I’m particularly pleased to see the first small signs of improvement for young men, although they are still too far behind.”

This is the highest number recorded on A level results day.

However, the proportion of A* and A grades was 25.8 per cent, down by 0.1 per cent on last year. The pass rate of 98.1 per cent remained the same.

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “Applications and acceptances to university have increased again this year, building on three years of growth. In particular, the application rates for UK 18-year-olds are at record levels, despite there being a population decline for this age group.
“While higher education is not the right choice for everyone, the benefits of getting a degree are clear. Official  data  shows skilled graduates are still in a substantially better position to obtain a job and, on average, earn substantially more than non-graduates over a working lifetime. 
“Success in higher education, however, should not simply be measured by how much graduates go on to earn. A degree also helps students develop a range of other important life skills, from the ability to think critically, to analysing and presenting evidence.

“Higher education is also about making life-long friendships with people from all parts of the world and developing as an individual. Graduates make a hugely important contribution to society and the economy, for example, developing careers in nursing, the charity sector, the arts and setting up businesses.
“For applicants who got the grades required in their offer, they will secure their place at university this year. For those students who did not get the grades they hoped for or did not get any offers, they will have the option of using the Clearing system.

“Last year, a record 64,300 students used Clearing to find the right course for them. This year, we expect there will be even more courses on offer and similar numbers finding places by the end of the Clearing period.”

Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are now seven per cent more likely to go to university, following a drive in social mobility, results from today have also found.

Kay Cooper, who is Vice President of Global Accounts at Futurestep, a talent acquisition company said: “A-levels present a crossroads for school and college leavers as they embark on the next chapter of their lives, whether it be going to university or entering the world of work.

“One of the biggest changes we have seen in recent years is the increasing amount of college leavers choosing alternative avenues towards their career aside from attending university, such as apprenticeships.

“With the UK Apprenticeship Levy being introduced next year, the number of candidates entering the workplace from non-educational backgrounds is likely to rise. This presents an opportunity for organisations to tap into a multiple pools of talent that they can nurture in a way that is beneficial for both the organisation and its business needs and the individual.

“Organisations need to reconsider the avenues that they reach these different talent pools, as well as re-think how they present themselves to the candidates. A strong employer brand dedicated to ensuring college leavers feel confident in the company and its ability to guide candidates towards their prospective career path is vital.

“Being able to target these audiences is equally as important in order to articulate the employer brand. With a variety of platforms being used by these audiences, it is essential that organisations are thinking about all potential channels and how to optimise their recruitment and talent acquisition process. 

“With the war for talent increasing year on year, prospective candidates are finding themselves in a stronger position. Businesses need to work harder to stand out from competitors, or risk having the best and brightest talent slip through their fingers.

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