Wellington College

Wellington College Belfast

Co-Educational Grammar School

Engage | Educate | Empower



Key Staff

  • Mr G O'Hara (HOD)
  • Dr P Wardlow
  • Mrs P Allen
  • Mr M McFarland (Enterprise Education Programmes)
  • Dr I Drysdale
  • Dr D Agnew
  • Mrs J McCorry-Nicholl

The world of work is undergoing major change with old jobs disappearing and new opportunities becoming available largely due to the impact of technology and the global market. With these facts in mind we believe that an effective careers and guidance programme is even more crucial for our young people. This view point is clearly supported by CCEA as we see Education for Employability at the heart of the revised Northern Ireland Curriculum and with the new CEIAG guidelines from the Department of Education. The aims of the department have been adapted to meet these new requirements.

The careers department are now delivering a full program of study for employability across Key stage 3. We now have six members of staff trained and delivering the program across this Key stage.

The individual lessons cover all four dimensions of Education for Employability:

  • Work in the local and global economy
  • Career Planning
  • Skills and Qualities for Work
  • Enterprise and Entrepreneurship

The ethos of the lessons is one of active participation by the pupils in stimulating learning experiences which will develop not only the knowledge but also the skills and qualities required for the world of work.

We believe that through a systematic and on-going programme of employability and career management education pupils develop:

  • A knowledge and understanding of themselves
  • A knowledge of the local and global economy as well as enterprise education
  • A knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live, the career opportunities available and the routes of entry available to them
  • And the skills and personal qualities needed to manage their career development, including the ability to make choices, formulate and implement personal career plans and cope with transition from college to Higher Education and adult life.

In Year 10 the pupils have timetabled classes - one period per week. Apart from the timetabled classes the pupils are also given one to one guidance time. Our formal careers guidance begins in Year 10 when pupils select their subjects for GCSE - a key transition period for our pupils. This guidance takes the form of a 15 minute interview between the pupil, the parent and a member of the careers department. In this interview we assess the pupils ability in particular subjects and see the implications of subject choices on subsequent career opportunities.

In year 11 and 12 the pupils have timetabled careers classes - one period every two weeks. They are given an understanding of the world of work and how they best manage their career plan effectively to make the correct decisions for them in what is a very challenging and changing world of work. Pupils are actively involved in decision making for their post sixteen transition. All are interviewed by a Careers Adviser from Careers Service Northern Ireland, and are called for interview later in the year with a member of the careers department to confirm their Post 16 transition plans.

In Year 13 and 14, Careers is taught in timetabled careers classes for two periods every two weeks. Careers staff are also available for individual consultation and guidance during the last week in June at our UCAS interviews. This guidance interview takes the form of a 30 minute interview between the pupil the parent and a member of the careers department. Extensive use is made of Computer Assisted learning through the Pathfinder Live Program as well as Higher Education websites. Application to University is made on-line using the UCAS Apply System.  See UCAS online for further details. Contact with employers, representatives from Higher Education and from other relevant agencies is provided through a series of presentations by visiting speakers, through attendance at University Open Days and through a three day Work Shadowing experience.

Mock Interviews are arranged for Year 14 pupils as part of the Interview Skills Day run by Sentinus. The strong links we maintain with former students in the professions and in universities are of considerable benefit to our present students. In January of each year first year stranmillis pupils visit the college to work with our year 14 applicants.

Post - A level guidance is available in the college after the results are received in August. With website access to the vacancy list for universities and Colleges of Higher Education and information on local Universities, we offer our students prompt and up-to-date information and guidance on getting placed. The College has a Careers Suite with a well-equipped, up-to-date Careers library and resource centre.

Useful Links:

  1. www.ucas.ac.uk
  2. www.ucas.tv
  3. www.unistats.co.uk
  4. www.nijobs.com
  5. www.nidirect.gov.uk/careers
  6. www.iod.com
  7. www.sentinus.co.uk
  8. The Skills Barometer report is available for download: https://www.delni.gov.uk/publications/ni-skills-barometer
  9. Online version of the STEM Careers Booklet: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/skills-in-demand
  10. Higher Apprenticeships Information: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/higher-level-apprenticeships


Years 8-10

All pupils have two periods per fortnight per year for Employability. The four dimensions of Education for Employability are:

  • Wrok in the Local and Global Economy
  • Career Planning
  • Skills and Qualities for Work
  • Enterprise and Entrepreneurship

Decision Making, Opportunity Aqareness, Transition and Self Awareness (DOTS) are still very important aspect of the programme of study which is now complimented with the new dimensions of our revised curriculum of Education for Employability.

A new development this year is the new partnership we have fostered with Young Enterprise and Sentinus both outside agencies offering activities which link very nicely to our current programme of study for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. With a clear ethos of active participation these new programmes offered by these outside agencies really do provide the stimulating learning experience in order to develop the skills and capabilities which employers are requiring both now and in the future.

Employability Skills (Level 2)

Board: OCR

The certificate for Employability Skills is assessed and awarded at Level 1 and Level 2 of the National Qualification Framework.  Level 2 is equivalent to GCSE grades A* - C.

At level 2, a pass is broadly equivalent to the quality of work required to be produced for a short course GCSE grade C or higher.

Course outline

The specification consists of 3 units passed to gain the award and 5 units to gain the certificate at level 2.  It is 100% coursework and all work is externally moderated.

Preparation for Working Life (Level 2)

Board: AQA

The certificate for preparation for working life is assessed and awarded at level 1 and level 2 of the National Qualification Framework. Level 2 is equivalent to GCSE grades A*- C.

At level 2, a pass is broadly equivalent to the quality of work required to be produced for a short course GCSE grade C or higher.

Course outline

The specification consists of one internally assessed piece of coursework carrying 20% of the overall course mark and one externally assessed written paper carrying 80% of the overall course mark.

GCSE Learning For Life and Work

Board - CCEA

This new GCSE course is designed to address the requirements for the Northern Ireland Curriculum at Key Stage 4. The study of this subject will help young people to develop as contributors to society, the economy and the environment.

Course outline:

The specification consists of three externally assessed modules carrying 40% of the overall course mark:

  • Local and Global Citizenship
  • Personal Social and Health Education
  • Learning for Work

And two internally assessed pieces of coursework carrying 60% of the overall course mark.

Statutory Learning for Life and Work (Non examination)

All pupils not taking GCSE Learning for Life and Work will still be taught the three strands of the subject within our curriculum offer at key stage 4.

Certificate in Personal Effectiveness Level 3

Board - CCEA

The aim of this qualification is to provide a framework for the development, assessment and accreditation of skills achieved through enrichment activities.

Course outline

The pupils carry out three challenges from the following menu:

  • Active Citizenship
  • Work Related Activities
  • Career Planning
  • Global Awareness
  • Enrichment Activities
  • Research and Presentation Skills


The challenges selected must meet the requirements for all of the following units:

  • Working with others
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Problem solving
  • Planning and carrying out research
  • Communicating through discussion
  • Planning and giving an oral presentation

Pass or Fail

In order to pass this qualification the pupils have to produce a portfolio of evidence of all SIX units through the work carried out in the THREE chosen challenges. If passed each pupil is awarded 70 UCAS tariff points.

What are the future job opportunities in Northern Ireland?

The need to use Labour Market Information is extremely important, particularly in light of the current economic situation. Northern Ireland is expected to show signs of recovery, but competition for jobs and places in further and higher education is increasing.

There will be job opportunities across all occupational areas in Northern Ireland and particular growth is expected in occupations relating to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths [STEM]. This includes Computer Science and creative industries.

Participation in enrichment activities [community link projects, sport, drama etc] is increasingly important to gain access to further and higher education as well as employment.

What do STEM related areas include?

• Environmental engineering

• Agri-food

• Computer Science

• Renewable energy

• Advanced engineering

• Biomedical science

It is hoped that high tech exporting companies will lead in the growth of the Northern Ireland economy. Therefore a greater emphasis will be placed on sector specific skills and qualifications.

Why choose a STEM related career pathway?

A recent CBI study found that nine out of ten firms want STEM-skilled graduates and 40% of employers across all sectors need STEM-skilled people to design and innovate new products and services.

At Higher Education level the average STEM graduate will be earning £23,000, against £19,000 for graduates across all sectors.

If we are to secure a prosperous economic future for Northern Ireland then it is vital that we increase the number of STEM graduates in the coming years.

Useful links






Teacher training support event - Mr Noel Lyttle [a retired primary school Principal] returned again this year & was joined by Emma Murdock [former past pupil] and now a Stranmillis 1st year student to offer our future teachers in Year 14 some tips/advice on how to prepare themselves for the presentations and interviews that lie ahead

Related Documents:

Post Year 12 Options

View PDF

Option choice guidance for Year 10

View PDF