WHENEVER I speak to companies and employers in the Chesham & Amersham constituency, they talk to me about the importance that they place on the qualifications of job applicants.

Many congratulations to our school and college students who have worked so hard to achieve great results in this year’s A level and GCSE results, announced during August. One of the issues that comes across from employers is that it is useful to know how UK qualifications compare with other global systems. For example, some pupils in the UK are now sitting for the baccalaureat examinations. The goal of achieving a qualification with recognisable international applications was the driving force behind the reforms to the GCSE format.

Of course what Is really crucial is the need to make sure that as many people as possible leave school with qualifications. Those who do not achieve qualifications might join the ranks of the group known as NEETS. These are young people Not in Education, Employment or Training.

In the second quarter of this year, there were 955,000 young people in the NEETS group. That is 13.3 per cent of people in this age group. The House of Commons Library issued information recently which shows that not all people who are NEETS are unemployed, but 60 per cent of unemployed 16 to 24 year olds are described as NEET.

They can come from disadvantaged backgrounds which mean there have been efforts and schemes to help this age group so that they can overcome those disadvantages.

During August, it was revealed that the number of people described as NEETS in our region (the South East) has fallen by 6,000 since 2010. That represents a fall of 5.3 per cent.

Employment figures are rising in the Chesham & Amersham constituency. The trend across the whole of the United Kingdom shows a similar increase. What is most important is that people who are Not in Education, Employment or Training should be able to overcome any disadvantages, so that the problems are not passed on to their own children in turn.