15 August 2014

In what has become something of a summer ritual, business groups have congratulated students and teachers on this year's A-Level results, and then highlighted the improvements that they would still like to see implemented.

For the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), for example, Policy Manager for Employment and Skills, Marcus Mason, said that businesses will applaud the increased take up in science and maths, subjects he sees as vital for the success of the UK economy.

However, he then went on to point out that the continued decrease in the take up of foreign languages is doing nothing to alleviate the growing skills gap in this area.

Similarly, CBI Director-General John Cridland welcomed the increase in those with computing skills but deplored the fact that only 7.5% of candidates are female. With the EU remaining the UK's largest export market, he too deplored the fall in students taking French, German and Spanish.

While the BCC called for action to ensure that young people are attractive candidates to employers looking to hire, and suggested that closer links with local businesses during their schooling would be one answer, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has different ideas.

It wants post A-level students to consider starting their own business, highlighting the many sources of support to help would-be entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground.

Chief executive Phil Orford said: "To all those not going to university, there are many excellent apprenticeship schemes to go into but if you want the freedom and excitement of business then consider taking forward your ideas and becoming self-employed."

From Paul Clarke, business writer for Croner