University is not the be all and end all

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As students across Northern Ireland received their A Level results yesterday, many young people were jumping in elation at being accepted to their university and course of choice whilst some may have been experiencing disappointment and worry at not making the grade.  However, going to university is not the golden ticket to a glittering and successful career. 


There’s a lot of pressure on young people today to get top grades so that they can go to university and whilst university is the right choice for some people, it’s not the be all and end all.  For those students who didn’t get the grades they had hoped for, my advice would be not to panic and remember that there are plenty of other options.

Local colleges such as Belfast Metropolitan College offer a fantastic range of courses which in turn could lead to university entry, if you decide that is definitely the road you want to take.  Some young people may also benefit from taking some time out and enjoying a gap year – it can be difficult to know at 18 what you want to do and taking that time out to decide and enjoy yourself can be really beneficial.  Going straight into employment is also an option.  Many successful executives started their career at 18 working their way up and availing of education when it was appropriate.  If you are ambitious and driven you will always find employment, the important thing at the minute is to keep calm, don’t panic and assess all your options.

During school people enjoy linear progression with their peers, everyone stays together and moves forward at the end of each year. This step is the first they will have encountered where everyone goes in different directions. This is not a bad thing, it is life and as such each twist and turn can present new and exciting opportunity.


Neal Lucas is Managing Director of Neal Lucas Recruitment. Northern Ireland’s leading executive search and recruitment business specialising in the appointment of Director and Senior Management level roles (including Chair and NED positions).  Neal is an experienced commentator and is available for interview.