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  • Changes to GCSEs

    Pupils in year 8 / 9 will need to choose which subjects they study for GCSE. There are significant changes taking place for GCSEs and it is worth considering them.

    There is a move towards examination assessment at the end of the two years for most subjects and a lot less emphasis on coursework.

    Fewer subjects will be divided into ‘foundation’ and ‘higher’ tiers .Those students taking a foundation tier were only able to achieve grade C, whereas those take higher tiers could achieve up to a grade A.

    Examinations are changing too. There will be more essay-type answers rather than those requiring short answers.

    A new development is that grades will be from 9 (the highest) to 1 (lowest), rather than the current letters A* to G.  A grade C will now be equivalent to a grade 4.

    Stirling Careers Consultancy has put together a step-by-step approach guide to help parents / guardians and carers support their sons or daughters making their GCSE subject choices. It is important that your child should think carefully about their subject choices and do their research.

    Step 1 Research find out what your school is offering

    Each school will produce a booklet, often called an ‘Options Booklet’. This is a booklet about the subjects to be offered. Some schools will have an Open Evening whereby parents and pupils can talk to teachers. Some will hold assemblies and in some cases offer the opportunity for a senior member of staff to meet individually with pupils.

    Compulsory Subjects: These are subjects that have to be taken. They include Maths, English (either literature and language separately, or as a single English GCSE) and a science plus maybe 1 or 2 others e.g. ICT, history, geography and/or a language depending on the school.  You also take PSHE, PE and Religious Education, which may involve a GCSE. These are subjects that they can use throughout their lives and in every job.

    Option Subjects: These subjects may include subjects such as art, design technology, humanities and modern languages.  Studying a range of subjects at this stage is useful so that pupils have a wider base of options for later study and for career choices.

    Step 2 Research each of the option subjects

    Step 3 Consider what you are good at and your interests

    Step 4 Think which subjects you might need in the future

    For some careers particular subjects are required.  For instance careers in medicine or veterinary science will need at least double science. Creative careers may need art/design and languages would be important if you want to work abroad.

    It is important to find out about careers you are considering and check to see if you need any particular GCSE subjects.  If you need to find out about entry requirements a good website is the National Careers Service. You should research under job profiles.

    Step 5 Draw up a shortlist of all subjects you might like to choose

    Step 6 Making a Decision

    Having done all your research, you can then to do the advantages and disadvantages of each subject and score each one between 1 (lowest) 10 (highest) based on how much you think it will suit your skills,  interests and career direction (if known) otherwise keep your options open.  Your family and teachers will be able to help you do this. Pick the subjects with the highest scores.

    You have finished and you can now submit your ‘Options Form’ to the appropriate person in the school.

    For additional help and support either call us on 0790 461 4946 email us at info@stirlingcareersconsultancy.co.uk or contact us via our contact form on our website:


    Well done.

    Good luck!!

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    As undergraduates start the spring term it is time to start making plans and consider their career options for when they graduate in the Summer of 2016.

    It is important to start thinking about careers.

    These could be:

    • Careers related to your degree
    • Exploring your career ideas in more detail
    • Careers related to the part-time working that you have undertaken whilst at school or university
    • Careers related to your hobbies and interests.

    It is important to undertake research through visiting the careers library in the university and talking to a careers adviser at the university.

    • What are you good at
    • What do you enjoy?
    • What do you believe in and how does it fit in with your career plans?

    For those who are unsure, universities will have access to computer aided programmes which can suggest possible suitable careers.

    When you approach the job market it is really important that you take a targeted approach to your job search.

    Some of the options are as follows:

    Time Out (by choice)

    This could be:

    • To travel
    • Work Abroad
    • Voluntary Work / Work Shadowing
    • Time thinking about your next move.


    Postgraduate Study

    • Many jobs need postgraduate study such as teaching, law, librarianship, human resources.
    • Alternatively you may like to continue studying because you enjoy studying for its own sake
    • Or it may give you further time to consider what career paths is right for you. 


    A Graduate Entry Job.

    This is a job which needs a degree and will include Graduate Training Schemes. Be prepared to be flexible as there is a lot of competition for these jobs.

    A Direct Entry Job  

    This role you are applying for does not need a degree but having a degree will speed your progression through the organisation. Years ago many people starting out at the bottom of an organisation and then worked their way up through to the top. This will also give you a really good grounding in the organisation and perhaps more acceptance by your peers? And they can see that you know what the organisation is all about. Who will your competition be – those just leaving school?

    This could also be your fall back plan. You have tried really hard to get a graduate entry job but unfortunately through no fault of your own you have not succeeded. (Perhaps your sector is not recruiting at the moment,  alternatively, there is too much competition or too few jobs around).  Don’t think of it as a failure but it maybe you will need to think about your transferable skills.


    Starting up your own business

    You may see:

    • A gap in the market or
    • The degree course you are about to graduate in has inspired you to set up in business
    • Want to turn a hobby into your career.


    Quite often people who talk to a Careers Adviser will say that they do not have any career ideas but when they start talking to a careers adviser they do have ideas but it is just that they are not sure

    Remember that this is an exciting and challenging part of your life.

    Don’t be afraid to try out a few jobs.

    This is your life and you want to be sure that you find a satisfying and enjoyable career. 

    Either call us on 0790 461 4946 email us at info@stirlingcareersconsultancy.co.uk or contact us via our contact form on this website:


    We look forward to your call.

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    With organisations finalising their budgets for 2016-2017 organisations may make changes which could result in staff either being made redundant or having to re-apply for their jobs. This blog focuses on those being made redundant.

    Redundancy can be a very stressful time and you could be experiencing mixed emotions. However, it is also an ideal opportunity to take a step back and assess all your options before moving forward. If your organisation is going through a change management process all the research suggests those members of staff that are helped are more likely to make a successful transition to their next destination. If you or your organisation is going through a redundancy programme you will find these tips from Stirling Careers Consultancy helpful.

    Time to Evaluate your Options

    It is an ideal opportunity to step back and assess your options and to think about what you really want from your career and your next role.

    Make a list of all your skills and achievements

    It is worth writing a list of all your skills and achievements and things you have enjoyed doing. This is good preparation for starting to put you curriculum vitae together in preparation for applying for jobs and getting interviews.

    Alternatively you may have to re-apply for your current job. This exercise should give your morale a boost and make you realise your strengths and capabilities.

    Start thinking about how you are going to spend your time. It is worth considering doing a short course or doing voluntary work in the local community.

    Reviewing your CV

    • Start updating your CV targeting it at your next possible role. There are plenty of CV templates available on the internet
    • Or visit your local library. There are a lot of useful free careers resources available in the library.
    • Ask your friends to critique your CV so that you can ensure that you are providing the information that future employers will be looking for.
    • At some time, think about the image that you want to project to potential employers.



    • It is important to get out and about meeting people and attending targeted networking events related to your sector / profession. You can often find out about local networking events through your local Chamber of Commerce  
    • Get some professional business cards printed.



    This is a useful social media tool to build an on-line presences and useful as a research tool.  It is about building your professional identity online and staying in contact with colleagues and former school friends. You can join online discussion groups linked to your career and it is a way of keeping up to date again within your profession / sector.


    It is important that you do some exercise that you enjoy whether you join a gym or go for a walk in the park. This will enable you to keep your brain fresh and it will make you feel more energetic and enthusiastic.


    With redundancy it is important to monitor all of your expenditure and ask yourself:

    • Is it essential?
    • Is it non-essential?
    • Is it a luxury?

    Start putting a budget together and keep a close eye on it.

    It is really important to keep a positive attitude.

    All the research suggests that those people who are helped through the redundancy process are more likely to make a successful transition.

    If you are being made redundant, Stirling Careers Consultancy can help you through the process.

    We can help you evaluate your options, put together a targeted job search plan, (if appropriate) that will enable you to market yourself effectively to help you get your new job role as quickly as possible.

    Being made redundant is never easy, however, it is an ideal opportunity to talk things through with an experienced careers professional and put a plan together.

    This could be the start of a new life / new future / new beginning!

    Either call us on 0790 461 4946 email us at info@stirlingcareersconsultancy.co.uk or contact us via our contact form on our website:


    We look forward to your call.

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    January is always a good time to make New Year’s resolutions and one of these might be to get a new job or career.

    The thought of doing this can be quite exciting or daunting.

    Here are some tips to get you started:

    • The first thing you need to do is decide on the type of job you are looking for.
    • Do you want to continue in your current area of work/sector?
    • Are you looking to make a career change?
    • What are your transferable skills?
    • Consider your work/life balance.

    You may be trying to escape a job that you do not like.

    Whatever the reasons for your change you need to do some research and put an action plan together.

    This should have goals which are SMART

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Realistic
    • Within a Timespan

    If you would like to discuss your ideas in more detail then why not contact Alistair Stirling of Stirling Careers Consultancy either by email on info@stirlingcareersconsultancy.co.uk or phone 0790 461 4946.

    Good luck.


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