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Careers Information and Guidance for Parents

National Careers Service helpline for students

Callers to the helpline will have direct access to experienced careers advisers who can advise on all the different options available to them, including A levels, GCSEs, BTECs, apprenticeships and other vocational options. Other support will be available on topics such as clearing, university, gap years, moving away from home and re-sits.

Students looking for help with clearing or their UCAS application should contact UCAS at

Expert advice can also be accessed through the following Exam Results Helpline social media channels:

The National Careers Service

The National Careers Service is available for anyone aged 13+ providing advice and information on a range of topics including careers, education, employment and training/apprenticeships.

National Careers Service free helpline – 0800 100 900 - is open from 8am to 10pm every day and you are more than welcome to get in touch with our trained advisers, to ask any questions you may have about your child’s education or career opportunities.

The National Careers website has a range of contact channels which are accessible to all; they offer a free online chat with an adviser, you can send  an email, text or arrange a call-back and they also have minicom (for customers who are deaf or have hearing difficulties).

Your child can complete a free Skills Health Check test through our website which will suggest specific job sectors they may be suited to, based on their skills and strengths.

They can also research their career ideas using our popular job profile.

Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance is another useful website written by members of the Careers Writers Association. The Association consists of highly experienced careers writers of articles, books and web-based materials for the 14-25 age group. Many are also experienced and qualified careers advisers who have worked in schools, colleges and universities in the UK as well as overseas.  Do visit the Find a careers writer pages for more details including special writing interests, and the wide range organisations who have commissioned our work.

General Advice

The most important thing you can offer is the knowledge of where to find the right information, so you can do the research into their options together.

  • To begin with, it’s important your child knows what are their strengths, their skills and abilities. You will undoubtedly know what they are good at but it’s difficult to recognise your own skills and strengths. You can use the Skills Health Check test on the National Careers website to help your child become more aware of their strengths, weakness and career sectors they may be suited to.

  • The Skills Health Check is a great starting point and can help your child with researching specific career sectors and understanding more about themselves as an individual. It’s important to remember that any careers related test you take is purely meant as a guide.

  • The career choices which the test may offer up can be researched further on the ‘Job Profile’ pages. The National Careers Service have over 800 different types of career options, from gardener to graphic designer and everything in between! Each one explains which skills and qualifications you need to get into that job. You can also read about what the work would be like, the average salary you could expect and what the career prospects might be.

One of the most popular search methods for the Job profiles is through the ‘Job Families’ list. This groups similar jobs into one area so you can browse all the different jobs within this field. For example, if your child knows they want to work with animals but isn’t sure what jobs are available, you can look through the profiles for a vet, a kennel worker, a Police dog handler, a farm worker or even a beekeeper!

Benefits of Parental Involvement

Children have better self-esteem, are more self-disciplined, and show higher aspirations and motivation toward school. Children tend to achieve more, regardless of ethnic or racial background, socioeconomic status, or parents' education level. Children generally achieve better grades, test scores, and have better attendance. Research indicates that when students feel supported and loved by their parents, they have more confidence in their own ability to research careers and to choose a career that would be interesting and exciting.

Choices after GCSEs

The choices, which your child makes after completing their GCSEs, are dependent on a number of different factors including their own ambitions, the opportunities offered locally (see Local Labour Market Information link below) and the grades they have achieved.

These choices will really allow your child to tailor their own education and study towards subjects they feel passionate about and allow them to gain the knowledge and experience needed to progress onto their desired career path.

When thinking about steps after compulsory education, it’s important to keep in mind that there is no one size fits all style of education and that everyone learns in different ways. There is no right or wrong or better or worse but with the raising of the participation age coming into effect, this now means your child needs to stay in some form of education or training until their 18th birthday.

Education until their 18th birthday isn’t quite what it sounds; in-fact school leavers have a range of choices:

  1. 1. To stay in full time education working towards, A-levels, BTEC, NVQ or an alternative level 1/2/3 qualification at a local college or sixth form.

  2. 2. An apprenticeship.

  3. 3. A traineeship with the idea of progressing onto an apprenticeship or education.

  4. 4. Employment or Volunteering of 20 hours a week whilst working towards an accredited qualification part time with the study hours adding up to 280 guided learning hours over the course of a year.


Apprenticeships - a parents' guide

NCS Parents Guide - Apprenticeships

NCS Parents Guide - University and Finances

Labour Market Information - Liverpool, Cumbria and Lancashire.pdf