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A-levels: Informed decisions imperative to career planning says Simon Hamilton

PUPILS receiving their A-level results should take time to make informed decisions, the north's higher education minister has urged.

The new Department for the Economy is now responsible for further and higher education and careers.

Minister Simon Hamilton has encouraged those who are this week learning their results to avail of assistance offered by his department's Careers Service.

A-level results are published on August 18 with GSCE results following a week later.

"Making informed decisions following exam results is imperative to effective career planning," Mr Hamilton said.

"Obtaining exam results often presents a crossroads in a young person's career path and I would encourage students to take advantage of professional careers guidance in order to make well informed decisions.

"My department's Careers Service provides impartial advice and guidance on a range of career related issues, including further and higher education, apprenticeships, training, employment and voluntary work opportunities. A comprehensive guidance service is available for those clients hoping to progress into post 16 and 18 opportunities at this time."

Young people and parents can also access a wealth of useful information through nidirect, the minister added, which also contains contact details of careers advisers throughout Northern Ireland.

"Alternatively, if you need immediate advice and guidance following your exam results, you can contact a careers adviser by clicking on `chat with an adviser online'," Mr Hamilton said.

"This service is normally available from 9.30am to 4.30pm, however the opening hours for careers webchat have been extended from 9.00am to 8.00pm on both Thursday 18 and Friday 19 August to provide additional support to those who have received A-level results.

"For those who have received their GCSE results, the opening hours for this service have also been extended from 9.00am to 8.00pm on both Thursday 25 and Friday 26 August. You can also call 0300 200 7820 to speak directly to a careers adviser."

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