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 many members of staff delivering the program across this Key stage.

The individual lessons cover all four dimensions of Education for Employability and are mapped to the requirements of the Department of Education:

  • 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 20 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 week. 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 one period every week. Careers staff are also available for individual consultation and guidance during the UCAS interviews in June. This guidance interview takes the form of a 30 minute interview between the pupil the parent and a member of the careers department. 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 Work Shadowing experience.

Mock Interviews are arranged for Year 14 pupils as part of the Interview Skills Day.  The strong links we maintain with former students in the professions and in universities are of considerable benefit to our present students. Each year, former students enrolled at Stranmillis College return to work with our Year 14 applicants.

Post-ALevel 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 suite within our modern 6th Form study area.

Useful Links:

  6. The Skills Barometer report is available for download:
  7. Online version of the STEM Careers Booklet:
  8. Higher Apprenticeships Information:

Key Stage 3


Years 8-10

All students have two periods a week for LLW (Employability / Personal Development / Citizenship). The four dimensions of Education for Employability are:

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

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

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


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