‘Where do I go from here?’: The ultimate guide to exam results

Posted by
Wednesday, August 15th, 2018
Community, Jobs & Careers

Students across Northern Ireland are receiving exam results and, depending upon the results received, asking themselves ‘Where do I go from here?’

Obtaining exam results is an exciting and important milestone in the life of a young person and making informed decisions about the various career options available is vital to effective career planning.



The Northern Ireland 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.

Frances O’Hara, Head of the Careers Service, said, “I would encourage students to take advantage of the professional advice and guidance available from your careers adviser to help you take the next step.

“A comprehensive guidance service is available for those hoping to progress into post 16 and 18 opportunities at this time. Young people and parents can also access useful information through the Careers Service website: www.nidirect.gov.uk/careers which also contains contact details of careers offices throughout Northern Ireland.



“If you need immediate advice and guidance following your exam results I recommend you use the online webchat facility at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/careers. You can contact a careers adviser by clicking on the “Chat with an adviser” button or you can speak with an adviser by calling 0300 200 7820.

“Webchat and phone opening hours will be extended and advisers will be available via webchat and telephone from 9.00am to 7.00pm on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th August and again on Thursday 23th and Friday 24th August.

He added, “I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone well and to reassure you that the Careers Service team is available to help you access the pathway best suited to you and your career ambitions.”

Head of the Careers Service, Frances O’Hara answers some frequently asked questions.





What can the Careers Service offer me?

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.



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

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 a number of 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.

Where will future jobs be?

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 https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/skills-demand and from careers advisers.



What can I do at a Further Education college?

Further Education colleges offer a range of academic, professional and technical qualifications as well as training courses.

You can choose from a range of 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

What about training?

Apprenticeships – 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 the job’ and ‘Off the Job’ working towards the achievement of an industry approved qualification. Further information can be obtained from www.nidirect.gov.uk/apprenticeships.

Our FE colleges and universities in partnership with local employers also offer Higher Level Apprenticeships. As 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. Check www.nidirect.gov.uk/higher-level-apprenticeships.

In addition, the Department for the Economy’s Training for Success programme could provide you with the tools and confidence you 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. For further information go to www.nidirect.gov.uk/skills



Is employment an option?

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 search skills, help with job applications and CVs, and to prepare for interviews.

To contact a Careers Adviser you can:

  • Chat with a careers adviser online at www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/chat-with-a-careers-adviser
  • Call 0300 200 7820, or
  • Go online at www.nidirect.gov.uk/results to find your nearest office.



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