Exam results often present a crossroads where and making informed decisions is imperative to effective career planning.
The Department for the Economy’s Careers Service say they are here to help, providing impartial advice and guidance on a range of career options including further and higher education, apprenticeships, training, employment and voluntary work opportunities.
Head of the Careers Service, Frances O’Hara said: “It is important that those receiving exam results or making decisions about their next steps on their career paths have all the relevant information about future education, training and employment opportunities.
“If you need immediate advice following results, you can talk to a careers advisor online using our instant messaging facility which is available at www.nidirect.gov.uk/careers.
"The service is available from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. We have extended opening hours on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 August from 9.00am to 7.30pm to provide additional support for those getting their A level results.
“For GCSE results, the opening hours for this service have been extended from 9.00am to 7.30pm on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 August.
“Alternatively young people and parents can access a wealth of useful information including contact details of careers advisers throughout Northern Ireland at www.nidirect.gov.uk/careers
“You can also call 0300 200 7820 to speak directly to a careers adviser.”
Explaining the potential options available to young people, Frances added: “There are a number of choices available for those receiving their exam results at this time including;
Further Education (FE): FE offers a wide range of full and part time qualifications, including Foundation Degrees. The courses are geared towards preparing learners entering the world of work and the professional and technical qualifications have been developed in conjunction with employer bodies and are a strong first step to accessing different career paths.
Foundation Degrees (FDs) are professional and technical higher education qualifications, delivered by colleges and awarded by universities which integrate academic and work-related study. They offer an alternative progression route from A levels into higher education and an alternative route to a Bachelors degree. FDs are stand-alone qualifications with an emphasis on the development of skills in the workplace which will assist successful students in gaining suitable employment. You can contact your local FE College for more information visit https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/further-education-fe-colleges
Clearing/Alternative degree courses: If you have not been offered a place on your chosen course, you may be able to find a place at university on a similar course using UCAS clearing – see http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/changing-your-ucas-application This facility advertises vacant courses at universities across the UK. Your results may also cause you to re-think the courses you have already applied for.
Apprenticeships: The apprenticeship programme gives you the opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’ - to be in paid employment and achieve nationally recognised skills and qualifications in a variety of occupations. Learning takes place both ‘on the job’ and ‘off the job’ working towards the achievement of an industry approved qualification. Apprenticeship training is delivered at your local further education college and by a number of other contracted training suppliers. Check www.nidirect.gov.uk/skills
“This is an important time for all young people and I would encourage them to make sure they have all the relevant information to ensure they make the decisions right for them and their future career path.”