UCAS figures show 29,830 students from Scotland have had their university applications confirmed today as exam results go out across the country. This is a four per cent increase in acceptances despite an overall fall in the population of 18-year olds.

The Commission on Widening Access set a target to have students from the 20 per cent most deprived backgrounds representing 20 per cent of entrants to Higher Education by 2030. The Commission’s final report is available here.

This year, for Scottish applicants of all ages, 4,340 students from the most deprived areas (SIMD20) were placed – 14.6 per cent of all Scottish applicants. A breakdown by SIMD quintile is available on the UCAS website. This compares with, 14.4 per cent last year (4,150 of all students).

Commenting on the results, Ross Miller, Director of Medusa Training Hair Academy based in Falkirk, and VTCT Independent Examiner said:

"We should recognise the steps that have been made to help students improve their core skills of maths, English and ICT as this is hugely important for young people and employers alike, no matter the career choice.

"For young people who do not wish to go to university, there are many options open to them in vocational fields.

"As a hairdresser, I train apprentices every day and across the sector we are seeing a rise in the number of apprenticeship applications.

"However, there remains an uncomfortable truth that many young people leave school without these core skills, placing the onus on their employers to upskill them.  

"If we want more young people to take charge of their future career, then we need to ensure that the skills acquired in school translate into the world of work." 

NUS Scotland President Liam McCabe said:

“It’s fantastic to see so many students’ hard work paying off with positive exam results and an increase in acceptances to university. Congratulations to everyone receiving results this year.

“I’d urge anyone who didn’t get the results they were hoping for today not to be disheartened – support is available to help you plan your next steps toward the future you want. Advisors at Skills Development Scotland’s dedicated exam results helpline can help you plan your next steps; please give them a call. It’s important to remember that education is a lifelong pursuit and pathways will always be open to you.

“While it is encouraging to see a modest rise in the proportion of UCAS acceptances for those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, we can’t lose sight of the fact there is much more to do to ensure more students from the poorest areas make it into Higher Education. We need to see every institution - without exception - pulling their weight to change the current culture and boost admissions for these students.”

“The continued drop in university acceptances for EU students is concerning. As Brexit draws nearer the UK Government must work more closely with the Scottish Government and our universities and colleges to protect all students from the impacts of Brexit.”

CBI Scotland comments on results day for young people across Scotland.

CBI Scotland Director, Tracy Black said:

“Students across Scotland should be congratulated for demonstrating talent and hard work in achieving good grades and setting themselves on a path to further study or entering the workforce.

“For those young people that don’t receive the grades they were hoping, the message is clear – do not despair, there are many ways to build a successful career. While universities do a fantastic job, they aren’t the only route to a high skilled, high paying job.

“Businesses across Scotland are always on the lookout for candidates that value determination and capacity to learn on the job. In fact, the majority of companies tell us that attitude and aptitude far outweigh formal qualifications when it comes to crucial hiring decisions.

“Overall the pass rate remains in line with the previous year, which shows a good level of consistency, and it's pleasing to see a continued improvement in maths results - particularly as we know how important it is to encourage young people to take-up STEM subjects.”

About Ross Miller: He runs a hairdressing salon and employs, trains and upskills apprentices from ages 16 upwards. He’s a leader in the sector and his academy is VTCT accredited; importantly, he’s a big believer in the schooling system setting young people up with the core skills they need.

For results support, call Skills Development Scotland’s Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000. The helpline is open until 15 August. 

More on the UCAS data is available here.

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