Our main role in the Careers Department is to help our students develop self-awareness, career awareness and career management skills so that they make informed decisions about their future pathways. It is not essential that a student has identified a specific career ambition, even by the time he leaves St Mary’s, but he should be aware of his choices, skills and qualities and know how to research career options. All pupils are made aware of the presence of a school Careers Adviser who is available five days a week for consultation.‘Careers’ is delivered through many different ways within school: educational visits to various work places, timetabled career classes on a weekly basis, career activities such as “STEAM Careers Day” or guest speakers.

Key Stage 3 Careers at St Mary’s Grammar School Belfast

All students of St Mary’s CBGS have free access to professional, impartial and confidential careers advice and guidance.

All students will have the opportunity to attend career talks throughout the year, with a particular focus on careers relating to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM). All students have access the Careers Programme Launchpad on school computers, at home and on Samsung tablets. Students work on this during Career Planning Lessons and thereafter in their free time.

In the Junior School all pupils study “Learning for Life and Work” (LLW) which encompasses Employability. Mr S McGoldrick as co-ordinator for LLW provides material for these lessons. All Key Stage 3 students also have a timetabled class of careers education per week as part of the Friday Form Period. During these classes they are given the opportunity to take part in games, activities and written lessons in order to progress their career ideas and career plans.

The Year 10 career education programme focuses on subject and career choices in the January – February period. As Year 10 pupils approach their Options choices for GCSE, specific advice is also offered to pupils and their parents, either at the Options meeting, or at subsequent appointments. Miss Moore, the school’s careers adviser, talks to the year group as a whole and to each class individually to offer advice and answer questions about GCSE subjects and career choices. There is also a ‘Career Planning’ day for all Year 10 pupils before they have to choose their GCSE subjects. Career Planning focuses on self and career awareness, career exploration and career management.

To avail of a careers interview students can drop into the Careers Room or ask their Form Teacher for a referral. All interviews are confidential, impartial, student-centred and comply to all equal opportunity guidance.


Key Stage 4 Careers at St Mary's CBGS

All Key Stage 4 students follow a careers education programme on a weekly basis during the Friday Form Period. Year 11 students also study the Employability aspect of LLW which builds on previous their knowledge. Year 11 students meet the NI Careers Service in June and have the opportunity to attend career events in the summer term. Miss Moore identifies high achievers in the Year 11 and works with this group to raise aspirations and encourage students to consider applying to Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group universities. This group also has the opportunity to attend a local talk from the University of Cambridge. All Year 11 students participate in April in the Young Enterprise’s Learn To Earn Programme where they will undertake a personal skills and talents assessment and research into future employment opportunities.

All Year 12 students receive a one-to-one career guidance interview with the school’s DEL Careers Advisers throughout the year. Information on post-16 Education and Training choices is delivered by local colleges and training providers in formal presentations. There is also a dedicated Careers teacher who works with pre-identified leavers. This group of students follow an intensive careers programme and are given the opportunity to undertake work experience and receive mock interviews from local employers.

Guidance and assistance is also given for Sixth Form Options in St Mary’s in the form of an Options booklet, an Options evening and teacher talks on the new subjects offered at A-Level. Miss Moore co-ordinates pupil talks from current A Level students for each Year 12 Form Class and visits each class herself to advise students how to make suitable choices. The Year 12 career education programme also focuses on subject and career choices in the January–February period.

To avail of a careers interview students can drop into the Careers Room or ask their Form Teacher for a referral. All interviews are confidential, impartial, student-centred and comply to all equal opportunity guidance


Key Stage 5 Careers at St Mary’s Grammar School Belfast

All students of St Mary’s CBGS have free access to professional, impartial and confidential careers advice and guidance.

All senior school pupils attend Career Planning lessons. These lessons are delivered by Careers staff on a weekly basis, in the September–December period for Year 14 students and in the January–May period for Year 13 students. These programmes involve working on self assessment, Post-18 options, research skills, employability, labour market information, applying to university, action planning, decision-making and interview skills.

The Career Planning Programme includes talks from past pupils and is supplemented by specific career presentations and events throughout the year. By the end of this programme each Year 13 student should have completed a Personal Career Plan which is subject to amendment in Year 14.

In the first term of Year 13 students will register their proposed career areas for work experience online. The careers department organises some placements in advance and endeavours to match students to relevant employers. Preparation for Work Shadowing takes place in Career lessons from early January, led by the Careers department. All students will provide evidence of work based learning and will participate in assessment activities after their placement in timetabled career classes. The Work Shadowing Programme itself runs for a week at the end of January. There is an extra opportunity for work shadowing for those students interested in competitive career areas at the end of the summer term.

Pupils also have the chance to take part in Institute of Directors’ scheme, the Rotary Leadership scheme and various local volunteering opportunities. From February onwards Year 13 pupils attend the UCAS N.I. HE Convention and receive talks and presentations in school from representatives from local, Scottish and English universities, as well as those from the Republic of Ireland.

In September of Year 14 pupils attend Open Days at QUB and UU as well as the Methodist College Higher Education Convention. In the same month career lessons focus on Applying to Higher Education, UCAS Apply and research ideas. All students are encouraged to book a one-to-one careers interview with Miss Moore. Year 14 career classes throughout October and November focus on university choices, completing UCAS applications online and personal statements. Specialist speakers address the full year group on Writing Personal Statements. In November Year 14 students are given a special assembly on applying to St Mary’s University College and applying to Higher Education in the Republic of Ireland.

Year 14 careers classes in the November-December period concentrate on employer and university recruitment processes, completing application forms and interview skills. All Year 14 students receive a mock interview with local business personnel at the end of the Careers Programme in December.

The Careers library is open to all students for research and consultation. This library contains most UK and RoI prospectuses, Higher Education guides, books on all major industries, an A-Z file of all known occupations, and guides to job applications, CV’s and interviews. In the Careers Room students also have access to A-Z files on all occupational areas, Labour Market Information and matters such as Student Finance, Apprenticeships, Gap Years, Voluntary Work, Local Employers and Studying Abroad. The Sixth Form Study Hall also holds most UK and RoI prospectuses and UCAS Guides.

On leaving St Mary’s, students who positively engage in the Careers Programme, will have had learning opportunities in potential future pathways, developed skills in careers research and decision-making, accessed Careers resources and begun their planning for the years beyond school.


Welcome to the Parents Zone in St Mary’s CBGS Careers!

Here you can download guides and presentations from the Careers Department, look at what particular subjects might lead to, or browse recommended websites.
Click on any download below of interest.