It’s that time of year when the publication of A level, AS level and vocational qualification results ends the nervous wait for thousands of students and their families. For most, it will lead to new beginnings as they look forward to starting university, an apprenticeship, further training or entering the world of work.
But for many there can still be huge uncertainty. For those of you who didn’t receive the grades to make your planned move, the results can be a shock and it may feel that the future you mapped out is slipping away. Or you may never have been sure what you want to do next, with results day marking an end to the routine of school or college and a step into an unknown future.
While these results are important, the world of work is changing ever faster, so anyone leaving school or college now can expect to have multiple careers over their lifetime, and there are both academic and vocational routes to progressing in most areas of work.
Take the time to explore the options available – from going to university, doing an apprenticeship, taking a year to re-sit exams, completing a vocational course, gaining some work experience or even taking time out to travel. While your first choice may not be possible right now, consider why you chose that route and where you hoped it would take you, then look at all the options to achieve the same goal.
In looking at these next steps, there are many people who can help.
Your family usually know you best, though their advice may be limited by their own experiences and networks. So if you express an interest in a career or education route that your family isn’t familiar with, it can feel difficult. Still, families can offer encouragement and help you think through your choices – what is attractive about different careers, how can you gain some real experience of work, what are the options to develop the skills you need and who might you talk to for more help?
Teachers also often have a good understanding of you as a student and can provide a valuable sounding board. Though again their perspectives may be limited by their own experience and they may have a focus on the particular area of study they have taught.
For expert and impartial advice, the best person to speak to is a Careers Adviser. Professional Careers Advisers are bound by a Code of Ethics that means their focus is on you as their client. Careers Advisers are trained to offer impartial, expert advice. They have knowledge of a wide range of jobs and the different routes to get started or progress in them. They can coach you to explore what you want from your career and provide information and advice to help you decide the next step that is right for you.
You can access support from a Careers Adviser through school or college, so be sure to ask for help if you need it. You can also get support as follows: In England, the National Careers Service Exam Results Helpline is available on 0800 100 900 and here. Careers Wales are providing extra support in schools and here. The Careers Service Northern Ireland can be reached here and in Scotland, where results were published last week, Skills development Scotland are providing support on 0808 100 8000 and here.
David Morgan, Chief Executive of the Career Development Institute says:
“The key for this next step is to make sure it is right for you. Whether you are clear on what you want to do but need help achieving it, or need more support to work out the direction you want to take in your career, you don’t have to figure It out on your own.
There are people ready to help you make the choice that is best for you. Talk to family, friends and teachers, but remember you can also access independent, informed advice from a qualified careers professional, who can help you decide what you want to do and find the right next step on your career journey.”
Regardless of the grades you receive today, you can still have a successful career by taking the time to think about what you want from the world of work, explore the options to get there and make use of the support that’s available.