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Businesses welcome rise in STEM A-levels, but say soft skills also matter

18 Aug 2016
A-level examination hall

Congratulating the 300,000 students receiving their A-level results today, Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“Finishing secondary school is an important milestone in any person’s life and students should be proud of their dedication, hard-work and success.

“Businesses will be pleased to see to see the number of entries continues to rise in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects, where we face significant skills gaps. Maths is the most popular subject for a third year running and the number of STEM entries is up by around one-fifth since 2010. Computing and science subjects are among the fastest-growing subjects. However, these subjects continue to be dominated by boys, so employers need to show all students, especially girls, how valuable graduates in these subjects are to them.

“Specific knowledge is important, but our employers place just as much emphasis on the importance of soft skills like good communication, initiative, and team-working as on a candidates’ grades.

“Those students who didn’t get the results they were hoping for shouldn’t panic. There are plenty of valuable alternatives to university including apprenticeships, traineeships, and technical courses which can all be equally more beneficial to advance your career".

Through our Student Membership scheme, the IoD is committed to helping young people who are interested in developing a career in business. Working with universities, colleges and apprenticeship programmes across the country, the IoD has supported thousands of students and apprentices with mentoring, networking and events to help them build the knowledge and skills that will help them achieve their goals.

Find out more information here

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