DURING the summer I took some time to meet with dozens of teenagers from local schools who have been taking part in the National Citizens Service initiative.

Participants go to a residential activity centre, take part in team-building exercises and then return home to carry out social action projects benefitting their local community. The feedback from the young people has been very positive and quite a few described it as the best thing they have every taken part in.

Of course teenagers, and their parents, have had a nervous wait for exam results. I remember the trepidation I felt 40 years ago opening that envelope. The A level results were particularly pleasing and schools were able to make the most of the A Level changes to deliver some really strong results.

The overall pass-rate across the county was 97.9 per cent – a figure which has remained stable since 2009 – and mathematics is the most popular A level. I’m particularly pleased to see this as I have been a keen supporter of people studying STEM subjects – Science, Maths, Engineering and Technology – and I regularly attend events here and in London aimed at encouraging more people to study these subjects.

This also bodes well for our country’s future as more and more people are getting the right skills to help us complete on the global stage – allowing young people to secure well-paid jobs in a strong, post-Brexit Britain.

This year’s A Levels have gone through changes to help people to be better prepared to go on to study at university, which adds between £170,000 if you are a man and £250,000 if you are a woman, to your lifetime earnings.

Whether you choose to go on to study or take up an apprenticeship, the future is bright for young people preparing to enter the world of work – with employment at a record high, 700,000 job vacancies and youth unemployment down sharply.