Education news

A-levels: ACCA urges young people to carefully consider their career path

A-level results are released this week

Young people receiving exam results should be properly informed of all the career options available to them, according to the global body for professional accountants.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) said forecasts indicated that more than half of Northern Ireland's workforce would require higher level skills, particularly in `stem' elated disciplines by 2020.

According to the most recent Employer Skills Survey, 19 per cent of vacancies here in the north are caused by skills shortages.

This proportion fluctuates from 15 per cent in Belfast to 30 per cent in the north west.

Clodagh Hegarty, chair of the ACCA Ulster Members' Network, said pupils receiving A-level and GCSE results should consider the broad range of career options available.

She said this should include numerous pathways into skilled employment and professional career focused alternatives.

Exam results time, Ms Hegarty said, could be a worrying period for students, teachers, parents and guardians.

"It is crucial that young people are equipped with the knowledge and understanding to make informed decisions about their next steps," she said.

"Working within the accountancy sector both at a professional level with ACCA and from an educational perspective, I know first-hand that young people are faced with tough decisions about what to do next. Some are fortunate to know what their next steps are when it comes to education, training or stepping onto the career ladder.

"For students who didn't get the grades or points specified in their conditional university offer, there are opportunities to seek professional career advice from a number of sources including UCAS, the universities, or the professional bodies."

Ms Hegarty added that full-time education was not the right approach for everyone and there were options available including the ACCA qualification, part time courses in the universities, BTECs, apprenticeships or other forms of vocational learning and training.

"For those interested in accountancy or the financial sector, the ACCA professional qualification offers globally transferable skills and prepares its students for the world of work," she said.

"It also offers flexible study options including full-time, part-time, online, evening, weekend and distance learning courses. Students who have obtained two A-levels and three GCSEs, including maths and English, are already on the path to becoming an accountant and can use their A-levels and GCSEs as a stepping stone to a professional qualification.

"With skills shortages threatening business growth it is crucial that we retain a talented workforce in Northern Ireland and equip our young people with the essential skills and knowledge required to fulfil the demands of employers."

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