What next? Career advice for school leavers

Siobhan McKenna
Siobhan McKenna

CAREERS advisor for Magherafelt and Cookstown Siobhan McKenna says not all is lost if you haven’t achieved the desired grades.

Here she answers some frequently asked questions which are raised with careers advisers at this time of year.

“Congratulations to everyone who achieved their desired results this summer. This is an exciting time - whether moving on to university, entering further education, training or going into employment, with these comes a great change. Enjoy and make the most of the opportunities presented in this new stage of your life.”

“There will also be a number of disappointments at this time of year, but these can be overcome,” says Siobhan.

“There are many other options available and help is on-hand. For example the Careers Service has a team of professionally qualified careers advisers located in Careers Resource Centres, Job Centres and Jobs and Benefit Offices throughout Northern Ireland who are available to provide free and impartial careers information, advice and guidance to young people and adults.

Below are a couple of the questions which are frequently raised with our careers advisers at this time of year.

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

A. There are a number of possibilities open and these will depend on your own individual circumstances. I would strongly urge you to contact a careers adviser or your careers teacher at the earliest opportunity 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. Our Further Education colleges offer a wide range of vocational and other qualifications, including foundation degrees in a variety of areas.

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 A level results day (16 August for 2012) until 31 August. Your individual Adjustment period starts on 16 August or when your conditional firm (CF) choice changes to unconditional firm (UF), whichever is later. From this time you have a maximum of five calendar days (five 24 hour periods, including Saturdays and Sundays) to register and secure an alternative course, if you decide this is what you want to do.

If you want to try to find an alternative course you must register to use Adjustment so universities and colleges can view your application.

More information and details of how to contact your local careers adviser are available at www.nidirect.gov.uk/results or phone 0300 200 7820.