YEP Says, August 14: A-levels a first step on tricky road ahead for city’s youngsters

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...and new coal mine will help keep the lights on

TODAY is D-Day for Leeds students getting their A-level results. For some, there will be relief and excitement at the prospect of taking up a place at university. For others, disappointment and uncertainty over their future plans.

Those in the latter camp shouldn’t feel too despondent. There are options available to them, such as resits, and a growing recognition that vocational courses are a viable route into rewarding and often well-paid careers.

Yet there is no escaping the fact that the world today is very different from that of 10 – or even five – years ago. While yesterday’s jobs figures showed the biggest drop in the number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds in two decades, even those with three good A-levels and a place at a well-regarded university are likely to face stiff challenges in securing a job.

It means that it has never been so important for young people to identify the career they wish to pursue at an early stage and then work towards it, even if this means taking an internship or unpaid work to gain vital experience.

The absence of familiar certainties also dictates that today’s generation are likely to need to show far greater flexibility in terms of applying their skills and knowledge to different roles for different employers.

Whatever the future holds, we wish them luck today and on every step of the journey.

Coal has a part to play in keeping Britain’s lights on

THE PLAN to open a new coal mine near Wakefield represents the best and worst of energy policy in this country.

The best because the planned New Crofton Co-op Colliery shows coal is still a viable proposition and that there are people committed to keeping the last embers of this industry alive.

The worst because these plans are being advanced in spite of the Government’s reluctance to acknowledge the importance of coal at a time of global uncertainty.

Britain needs to harness a wide range of sources of power, including coal, if we are to lessen our reliance on other countries and keep the lights on at home.