TODAY is a big day for GCSE students here in the Vale of Glamorgan and across Wales. Best of luck to all who are awaiting their exam results.

Last week, of course, saw Vale students receiving their A level and AS level results and I was delighted to hear that the percentage of Vale students earning top A level grades rose this year, with 26.9 per cent of entries gaining an A or A* grade, compared with 25.7 per cent last year.

79 per cent of entries also gained a grade of C or above compared with 77.5 per cent last year.

And 98.2 per cent of entries were awarded a grade of E or above compared with 97.8 per cent last year.

This is a fantastic achievement.

Our young people deserve credit for their all their hard work and success and so too do their parents and teachers who have helped and supported them along the way.

I would like to wish all students in the Vale of Glamorgan, well for their future, whether that’s seeking employment or going on to higher education.

There is help available for our young people through Student Finance Wales, Careers Wales.

For more advice and support on university, work placements and jobs visit, or

Many young people will also be entering employment through the Welsh Government’s successful Jobs Growth Wales scheme.

The Jobs Growth Wales programme provides unemployed young people aged 16-24 with a job opportunity for a six month period, paid at or above the national minimum wage for a minimum of 25 hours per week and a maximum of 40 hours.

Young people are employed for the duration of the programme and the jobs created must be additional to, and not replace, positions that would otherwise be filled.

The ambition for the programme is that the job opportunities will be sustained after the six months has completed.

Indeed, progression rates for Jobs Growth Wales are very strong with 80 per cent of young people in the programme’s largest strand, the private sector strand, progressing into sustained employment, an apprenticeship or further learning upon completing a six month opportunity.

Latest data for the graduate strand of Jobs Growth Wales shows that over 90 per cent of young people have progressed into sustained employment or further learning after finishing their six month opportunities.

I was very pleased to visit Jobs Growth Wales employers in the Vale of Glamorgan, including Vale Solicitors this week.

If you would like more information about the Welsh Government’s Jobs Growth Wales programme please visit the Welsh Government website at