By Claire West

Welcoming A-level figures released this morning by UCAS, showing more students than ever accepted on to university courses, the overall pass rate rising marginally to 98.1% and the proportion getting the top A* grade remaining stable, Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“Overall theses are positive results and students should be congratulated for their dedication and hard-work. University is a great way to learn important skills and gain valuable experience that will benefit you throughout your careers and your lives.

“In terms of addressing the skills gap in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] subjects, businesses will be pleased to see to see the number of entries in these subjects continues to rise. Maths is the most popular subject for a second year running and the number of STEM entries is up by nearly one-fifth since 2010. As welcome evidence that students recognise the need to build skills to compete in the modern economy, Computing has become the fastest-growing subject. However, the slight fall in the number of chemistry and biology entries show how important it is for employers to show students and schools how much they value these courses.

“Those who did not achieve the grades they wanted should not panic. There are plenty of valuable alternatives to university study. Apprenticeships, traineeships, and technical courses can all be equally, and in some cases more, beneficial ways to advance your career.

“One in four IoD members have no university degree but all have still been very successful in business. While IoD businesses recruit graduates in large numbers, our employers place just as much emphasis on the importance of soft skills like a positive attitude, good communication and team-working as on a candidates grades or education.”

Through its Student Membership scheme, the IoD is committed to helping young people who are interested in developing a career in business. Working with universities across the country, the IoD has supported thousands of students with mentoring, networking and events to help them build the knowledge that will help them achieve their goals. Starting with a pilot in Yorkshire, the IoD is trialling a scheme to allow apprentices to join the Student Membership scheme. Find out more information here: