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A-levels: Informed decisions important to career planning

Pupils across Northern Ireland are receiving exam results this week and, depending upon the results received, asking themselves `where do I go from here?' The following are frequently asked questions answered by the Department for the Economy's Careers Service.

PUPILS across Northern Ireland are receiving exam results this week and, depending upon the results received, asking themselves `where do I go from here?' The following are frequently asked questions answered by the Department for the Economy's Careers Service.

 

Q: I did not achieve the required results for my chosen universities. What are my options?

A: If you are unclear or confused about your next move particularly if you did not get the grades you had hoped for speak to a careers adviser. Careers guidance can play an important role in helping you understand the qualification and training requirements of your preferred career, identify routes to achieving your career goals and help you decide on your next steps.

There are numerous possibilities available and these will depend on your own individual circumstances. Options could include an alternative degree course, an apprenticeship, foundation degree courses, alternative qualifications, employment or self employment or even a gap year.

Q: What can the Careers Service offer me?

A: Professionally qualified careers advisers provide young people and adults with impartial advice and guidance on a range of career related issues, including apprenticeships, further and higher education, training, employment and voluntary work opportunities. Careers advisers use labour market information and knowledge of the skills and qualities employers need to inform the guidance process.

Q: Where will future jobs be?

A: A number of sectors have been identified by the Department for the Economy as important in rebuilding and rebalancing the economy. These sectors all need skilled and qualified staff and you may wish to think about this when considering your future career options. These sectors are ICT, business and financial services, advanced engineering, advanced manufacturing and materials, agri foods, health and life sciences, renewable energy and recycling and creative industries and digital media.

Further information on these and other sectors is available at www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/skills-demand and from careers advisers.

Q: What can I do at a further education (FE) college?

A: Further education colleges offer a range of academic, professional and technical qualifications as well as training courses. You can choose from full-time and part-time options including apprenticeships, foundation degrees, extended diplomas and higher level apprenticeships etc. You can find out more at www.nidirect.gov.uk/further-education.

Q: What about training?

A: There are many benefits of following an apprenticeship qualification including earning while you learn. You are trained to a quality standard in your chosen occupational area. Learning takes place both on and off the job working towards the achievement of an industry approved qualification.

FE colleges and universities in partnership with local employers also offer new higher level apprenticeship (HLA) opportunities as part of pilots which are designed to further inform the implementation of our new system of apprenticeships. As new HLAs are being agreed on an ongoing basis, your careers adviser will have a complete and up-to-date list of what is available.

Those interested in exploring the opportunities provided through a Higher Level Apprenticeship can also contact their local FE college.

In addition, DfE's Training for Success programme provides young people with the tools and confidence they need to find work. It offers training to help you gain the recognised skills, experiences and qualifications to help you progress into your chosen career.

Q: Is employment an option?

A: If you feel that full time education or training is not for you, employment may be an option. Careers advisers can help you to perfect your job hunting skills, help with job applications and CVs and to prepare for interviews.

  • To contact a careers adviser you can, chat online at www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/chat-with-a-careers-adviser, call 0300 200 7820, or visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/results to find your nearest office.
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