A-level results – what now?
Students across Northern Ireland have received exam results and, depending upon the results received, asking themselves ‘What now?’ and ‘Where do I go from here?’
Johnny Nolan, Careers Manager for Newry in the Department for Employment and Learning’s Careers Service, congratulated students on their exam results and answered some frequently asked questions which are raised with careers advisers at this time of year.
Q. What can the Careers Service offer me?
A. Professionally qualified careers advisers provide impartial careers guidance to young people and adults. Careers advisers are located in Job centres, Jobs and Benefit Offices and Careers Offices throughout Northern Ireland. In addition the Careers Service has three customised Careers Resources Centres in Belfast, Dungannon and Londonderry.
Q. I did not achieve the required results for my chosen universities. What are my options?
A. There are a number of possibilities available and these will depend on your own individual circumstances. You should contact a careers adviser or careers teacher as soon as possible to help you decide what’s best for you. Options could include an alternative degree course, alternative qualifications, an apprenticeship, employment or self employment, a gap year or maybe re-sits.
Q. I hear that there are very few jobs for graduates. Is there any value in going to university and studying for a further 3 or 4 years?
A. The job situation is still difficult, but it is important that you base your career decisions on future potential rather than the current circumstances. A number of sectors have been identified by the Minister for Employment and Learning as important in rebuilding and re-balancing 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: Business Services (including ICT); Financial services; Manufacturing (food and drink/Agri foods, advanced manufacturing, advanced engineering and advanced materials; Retail; Hotels and Catering (in support of Tourism).
In addition, you may also wish to think about emerging sectors such as Life and Health Sciences and Creative and Digital Media .
Further information on these and other sectors is available in the Industry Factsheets available on the Careers Service website www.nidirect.gov.uk/results and from careers advisers.
Q. I did better than expected and would like to explore options at other universities?
A. UCAS has introduced an Adjustment period to allow students who have exceeded the conditions of their firm choice to reconsider where and what to study. The Adjustment process is available from 15th August until 31st August 2010. The Adjustment period starts on 15th August or when your conditional firm choice changes to unconditional firm, whichever is later. From this time you have a maximum of five days to register and secure an alternative course.
Q I have met the conditions of my university offer but would now like to take a gap year. Is this possible?
A. Deferring entry to university is at the discretion of the individual institution. It would be advisable to check the UCAS website, contact the university directly or speak to a Careers Adviser.
Q. I’m not sure that the university route is the right one for me. What about training?
A. One option you could consider is an apprenticeship – the benefits of an apprenticeship qualification are many. For example, you are trained to a quality standard in your chosen occupational area in your employer’s business. You have the opportunity to develop specialist skills, using new technology, giving you the chance to learn and gain qualifications that are recognised worldwide.
As an added benefit in today’s economic climate, you will be earning while you learn. Further information can be obtained from www.nidirect.gov.uk/apprenticeships
Q. What can I do at a Further Education college?
A. Further Education colleges offer you the opportunity to study from a wide range of full time courses to suit your career path. You can choose from a range of options including ‘A’ Levels, GCSE, Vocational Qualifications, Apprenticeships, Foundation Degrees etc. Your careers adviser would be happy to talk you through the options in Further Education Colleges. Colleges will be holding information and advice days once the results are issued so it may be a good idea to visit the colleges to get more details. You can find out more at www.collegesni.ac.uk.
Q. Is employment an option?
A. If you really feel that full time education or training is not for you, employment may be an option. Vacancies are advertised in JobCentres, Job and Benefit offices, online at www.jobcentreonline.com, in local and provincial newspapers and through recruitment agencies.
Careers advisers can help you to perfect your job hunting skills, help with job applications and CVs, and to prepare for interviews. They can provide up-to-date information on employment trends and future job opportunities.
More information and details of how to contact your local careers adviser are available at www.nidirect.gov.uk/careers or phone 0300 200 7820.
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