Many young people are uncertain about their future
WITH the summer holidays over and young people in Bristol setting off for college or university, there are still many who didn't get the grades they needed and are uncertain about their futures.
As the Bristol Post reported last month, 52 per cent of GCSE students in the city achieved the national benchmark of five or more A* to C grade passes, including English and Maths - the same level as last year. That's well above the government's national baseline target of 40 per cent, but it means almost half of GCSE students in Bristol do not get five good passes.
Employers tell us time and again that they need young people with basic GCSE-level skills in Maths and English, so it's vital that more of Bristol's young people secure the qualifications they need to get on.
We must continue to invest in young people within schools, helping them achieve in subjects like English and Maths. The Prince's Trust offers courses within schools to help struggling pupils improve their grades, build confidence and get the skills they need to find work in the future. The government is also addressing this, by requiring 17-year-olds in education to re-take their GCSE Maths and English if they didn't get a C or above first time round.
A recent report by The Prince's Trust and HSBC found that thousands of young people in the UK have literally "abandoned their ambitions" due to their poor qualifications.
It can be easy to blame young people and say they could have worked harder or revised for longer, but there are lots of good reasons why young people miss out on the top grades. Many of the young people we help at The Prince's Trust lead extremely chaotic lives and have faced deeply distressing problems at home or bullying at school, leaving them unable to focus on exams.
Kirstie Porter, 22, from Bristol, is one young person who has benefited from the support of the trust. Working in a care home and looking after her disabled sister, Kirstie was suddenly made redundant. Unemployed and with only one A-C grade in her GCSEs, she saw no way out of her situation, which affected her confidence. After going onto The Prince's Trust Team programme, she was given the skills and confidence to help find her employment.
Following the course, she was offered a trial stewarding opportunity and went on to gain qualifications. She proved that she could be very good at security work. She now has her confidence back and works as a door supervisor around Bristol. In her spare time she also carries out volunteer care work.
Kirstie's story shows what young people are capable of if they are given the right support, even if they haven't got the grades.
If you are aged 13-30 and need help following your exam results or are struggling to find a job, or would like to get involved with The Prince's Trust visitprinces-trust.org.uk or call 0800 842 842.
Dermot Finch is regional director of The Prince's Trust in the South