Student and Graduate Publishing

Advice from the National Careers Service

Tuesday, 25 February 2014 15:12

We spoke to National Careers Service adviser Julie Taylor about some of the main issues concerning students thinking about what to do when they leave college or school.

Q: Would you say it is worth going to university considering the fees and debt? 

A: That really depends upon your individual circumstances. Debt can be a concern but that needn’t stop you heading to university. The National Careers Service is on hand to offer you help and advice and speak to you about your individual needs and help you make the right choices. Our advice is impartial and we’ll be able to help you properly address your concerns and provide you with accurate information and access to useful tools and resources.

Q: Do you have to go to university to get a good job?

A: Some careers like medicine, nursing or teaching do require you to gain a degree. But there are many routes now available to students and lots of different ways to achieve your ambitions, including Apprenticeships, which provide you with the option of earning while you learn. There are also, for example, alternative routes to working in law or becoming an accountant. 

Q: How do I decide which university will suit me best?

A: The UCAS website is very useful. It’s always a very good idea to go to open days, that way you will get a good idea about what life is really like at each university and you can speak to students and tutors.  There are also useful websites like and (and of course, Ed.)

Q: If I don’t head to university and want to get going with my career as soon as possible, what should I do?

A: The National Careers Service is on hand to provide you with help, whether you are looking to take up an Apprenticeship or explore other options,  like volunteering or a gap year. We can help you decide on the right career path for you based on what you enjoy doing and what you are good at, as well as explain the many different jobs available to you. You can either call us or visit our website for job market information or to look at the many different jobs available to you. Our Job Profiles  section of the website has information on over 750 jobs to enable you to make sure you have the right skills and qualifications and to  find out about what the work would be like, the average salary you could expect and what the career prospects are.

And our Skills Health Check tool will help you help you decide what kind of job would suit you and  show you which skills you might want to brush up on. You might find out about skills you didn’t even know you had! We’ll help you find out how successful you could be within any particular career so that you can make the right choices.

Q: How do I contact the NCS?

If you've got any questions or queries about jobs, careers, learning or training, please get in touch with the National Careers Service online or over the phone. Advisers are available to speak to you from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week.

Those aged 13 to 18 can now access help and advice in a variety of ways, with the most popular being over the telephone or online via a web-chat.  

Telephone: 0800 100 900 

Webchat: Search online for ‘National Careers Service’, or go to:

Follow-up: If a young person gets in touch using either of these we also offer a follow-up call 4-12 weeks later to find out how things went, and offer any further advice they need.  

They can also e-mail a question to our advisers using an internet form, get basic information sent to a mobiles by text (07766 4 13 2 19) or text your name and the word ‘Advice’ to receive a callback from an adviser. 

Young people can also join in moderated chat-rooms and message-boards with their peers.  If they would prefer a callback from an adviser at a later time/date then they can book it online.  

Before you call

Calls can take up to 30 minutes, depending on what you want to talk about. To make the most of your time, here are some useful things you can do before calling:

•think about why you are calling - do you have you a specific question or are you looking for general advice? 

•make sure you have enough time to talk 

•phone from a place where it's not too noisy 

•have a pen and paper ready - you might need to write down some information.

Find out more at: