Results days 2020 – what does it mean for the future of our young people?

 In Blog

This piece was written before the government announced its u-turn on using an algorithm to determine grades. ELBA’s programmes will continue to support young people with all of the challenges 2020 has presented.

By Sheetal Mistry, Community Development Project Manager, ELBA

In any ‘normal’ August, young people would be finding out their exam results, and therefore determining the next steps in their learning journeys – whether that be university, further education, training or employment. This August, however, is not like any other. Last week we saw A-Level results come out, based on predicted grades, mock exams, teacher assessments and a government algorithm, and almost 40% of young people saw their results downgraded. At the time of writing, this week will see GCSE results come out on a similar basis, and schools and teachers are bracing themselves for a similar impact. But what does this mean for the future of our young people?

We already know that the impact of the coronavirus crisis will hit future prospects of young people the hardest. Unemployment has risen hugely across the country, but the highest levels can be found amongst the 16-24 age group (9.2% unemployment in Hackney, for example). The number of job vacancies is low and we are now officially in another recession, so the likelihood of jobs being created or provided for those who are younger – and therefore likely less experienced – is equally concerning. 

Now we have seen the difficulties caused by having to ‘predict’ grades because of cancelled exams – many young people have missed out on their university offers because they didn’t meet their target A-Level grades. This will mean many will be looking for alternatives, or perhaps even deciding to postpone university altogether. Young people will be needing support more than ever before, and that responsibility lies with those of us with the power to upskill and create opportunities.

ELBA is already working hard to ensure young people have as much support, resource and access as possible:

  • Our Education team will be back in business once schools reopen, providing employment skills support, mentoring and career insights with our various member companies – you can read more about how the team and partners have adapted their programmes to continue supporting young people here.
  • Our Employment team is supporting young people with access to jobs, through programmes such as Moving on Up, Parity & Eagles Graduate programme.
  • Our Community team is working in partnership with Hackney Council and other local partners to develop skills workshops for young people, as well as supporting youth clubs and other vital youth services during this difficult time.
  • ELBA recently launched our SHIFT25 campaign to support young people from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds and address the inequalities they face.

The exam results that young people have received in this strange and uncertain year have been unfair for some, and whilst they are out of our hands, we can do our best to address the effects of these, and of wider coronavirus challenges, on their lives. Young people need our renewed commitment, motivation and fundamental belief in a brighter future for them and for all – and we hope you join us in that journey!

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ELBA Ceo blog digital divide in covid