A levels

Read our latest blog by our Managing Director Caroline Woffenden.

Over 3,000 students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their A level results this morning, in the most challenging of years.

The controversy over how pupils have been graded this year is well documented, but regardless of the political and moral viewpoint on the matter there have been inevitable adulations and disappointments today for the A level winners and losers.

Oh I remember it well.

Getting the right grades for the next step in career choices is of course important, but the message I wanted to pen here, to those that might be feeling down hearted about their results, is that A level results are not necessarily the be all and end all.

Whatever your results, note this… employers more often than not hire for attitude and train for skill (if I’ve said that once….) with A result grades way down the pecking order when it comes to interview questions.

Indeed – and correct me if I’m wrong – but I’m not sure I’ve ever asked – nor been particularly interested – in a candidate’s A level grades – but far more, the more crucial As of Ambition and Attitude.

As someone who missed a grade in her A levels (geography – ugh) to read politics at Edinburgh, I ended up in London. But looking back I wouldn’t change a thing. Honestly. London gave me a platform from which to launch my career and access to a capital city like no other – plus a lifetime network of friends (and some trophies and medals for my contribution to hockey, which arguably gave me more insight and understanding into team work and business acumen than any textbook ever did…).

And I’m not alone. World acclaimed author JK Rowling missed her place at Oxford… business tycoon Alan Sugar was a high school drop out… Richard Branson was branded a non academic at school… and Simon Cowell left school with just three O levels. Yet look at them now. Their careers speak for themselves. You see the point.

Mark Ansell on tonight’s Look North quoted that the University of Sheffield took over 5,000 calls today from prospective students – but for those pupils who are not where they thought they would be tonight, chin up, it might be the making of you.

Further guidance is being drafted for teachers and pupils who want to appeal we’re being told – and I hope the government will step up to the grade themselves here…

…but if you have missed the mark this time and whatever the outcome and route you now head, be it higher education, an apprenticeship or work, know you aren’t the first, nor will be the last, to have to re address and re plan, regardless of the year’s circumstances – and that in itself is a great life lesson. Believe me.

Resilience, adaptability and attitude reign above all else when it comes to a successful candidate.

So grades aside, if you’re passionate about PR and communication- and have to drive to follow that goal, we’d love to hear from you. A bright career could beckon.

Meanwhile I’m about to book a visit to Edinburgh, a city I’m still to get to know.