Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen today visited Conyers School in Yarm to speak to students as they received their A level results.
Across England and Wales, around 750,000 students will be discovering the outcome of their two years of study, with some 5,000 young people in Tees Valley learning their grades.
Mayor Houchen returned to the school where he studied from 1998 to 2005 to discuss future career opportunities for the students, and stressed that university was not the only option for post-18 study.
He said: “Massive congratulations to everyone receiving their A level results today. I’m especially heartened by the hard work and commitment on display at Conyers this morning. The future of our area is determined by the choices our young people make, and it is obvious looking at results at Conyers, and in many more colleges in the area, that our future is in good hands.
“Record-breaking employment figures out earlier this week showed that there is lots of opportunity to succeed in our area. So to those who didn’t quite get what they’d hoped, I’d say that university isn’t always the answer. There are plenty of routes available from apprenticeships, further skills training and other study options. The only barrier to success is your determination.
“I also want to express my gratitude to teachers and other staff in schools and colleges across the area for their dedication and commitment in preparing their students for these challenging exams. They are working flat-out to ensure that every child gets the best start in life – and I thank them for it.
“It’s clear today we’ve seen the best of what the Tees Valley has to offer.”
Figures released on Tuesday from the ONS Labour Force Survey show 54,000 people across the region are out of work, with an unemployment rate of 4.3%, falling by 9,000 on the past quarter, and 66,000 since 2010.
In Tees Valley, over the past three months alone, the number of residents claiming unemployment benefits has dropped by 9%, compared to a 2% drop nationally.
To support a drive for high-quality careers in key sectors in the region, a £3million TeesValleyCareers.com careers education initiative has been established. This aims to connect all of the 100,000 young people in Tees Valley with more than 1,000 employers, to give them more than seven meaningful engagements between the ages of 11 and 17.
On his visit, Mayor Houchen met twins Anna and Matthew Covell, 18, who were over the moon with their results.
Anna said: “I’m really grateful for what Conyers School has done for me and the support they have offered. This is the best feeling in the world and I can’t wait to study history with German at Oxford University.”
Matthew said: “I’m blown away – I expected a D in French but got a B. I also got two As and an A* and I’m going to London Queen Mary to study Geography. Now I can relax for the summer and start getting ready for university.”
Conyers head teacher Louise Spellman said: “These wonderful results contain many stories of individual success. We are delighted for all students who have dreamed big dreams and are striding into the future with confidence. I would like to thank the staff who have shown dedication and who have worked tirelessly to ensure every student had the best chance of success. Parents also deserve thanks from our students for their patience, support and kindness.”