Northern Ireland news

Advice for young people receiving exam results today

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons and Deputy Head of Careers Service, Christina Kelly encourage those seeking advice following exam results to contact the Careers Service
Suzanne McGonagle

AS young people receive exam results, Christina Kelly from the Northern Ireland Careers Service answers some frequently asked questions.


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. They can help you decide on the next step which is right for you. Several possibilities are available, including an alternative degree course, apprenticeship or higher level apprenticeship, foundation degree courses, alternative qualifications, employment, self-employment or gap year.

Q: Where will future jobs be?

A: Several sectors have been identified by the Department for the Economy as important in rebuilding and rebalancing the economy. These need skilled and qualified staff. They include ICT, business and financial services, advanced engineering, agri foods, renewable energy and recycling, and creative industries and digital media.

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

A: Colleges offer a range of academic, professional and technical courses. You can choose from full-time and part-time options including apprenticeships, foundation degrees, extended diplomas and higher level apprenticeships.

Q: What about apprenticeships?

A: These are a great way to get a qualification while earning. You are trained to a quality standard and are available in almost all occupational areas. Learning takes place both on and off the job working towards the achievement of an industry approved qualification. Colleges and universities in partnership with local employers also offer higher level apprenticeships (HLA). As HLAs are being agreed on an ongoing basis, careers advisers will have an up-to-date list of what is available.

Q: What about training?

A: The Department for the Economy’s Skills for Life and Work programme and the NI Traineeships could provide the tools and confidence to find work. It offers training to help gain recognised skills, experiences and qualifications to help progress into chosen careers.

Q: Is employment an option?

A: Careers advisers can help explore current job vacancies and support with job search activities including help with CVs, application forms and preparing for interviews. The Careers Service website publishes monthly job posting trends information, provided by the department’s economists. To contact a careers adviser, please visit, call 0300 200 7820 or visit

Northern Ireland news