Great turnout for event which helps pupils choose GCSEs

Dessie Blackadder


Dessie Blackadder

Ballymena Academy held its Annual Careers Evening on last week. 

This highly successful and exceptionally well-attended event has become a very important part of the school’s calendar.

It is aimed at pupils in Year 10 and their parents, prior to making GCSE subject choices, and is one aspect of the school’s programme of Careers Education, Advice, Information and Guidance. Parents and young people alike benefit from the opportunity to discuss career options with practitioners in the various fields.

In this instance, the focus is on the young people making the transition from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4.  The intention is to enable them to identify the GCSE subjects most appropriate for their individual strengths and aspirations.

A large number of former pupils, or parents of pupils at the school, each one prominent in his or her chosen profession or business, accepted an invitation to come along. 

Each participant gave a 20 minute presentation about their work, potential career progression, rewards in terms of job satisfaction, salary and relevant academic requirements. 


The presentations were followed by an open forum, giving young people and their parents the opportunity to question the speakers.

Those taking part included:  Miss Judith Coleman (Accountancy), Mr Chris Bell (Architecture), Dr. Frances Weldon (Almac – Careers in Chemistry), Mr Paul Jenkins (Computer Programming),  Mrs Laura Jones (Dentistry),  Miss Judith Thompson (Dietetics), Mr Paul Davison (Engineering - Chemical), Mr Gavin McFarland (Engineering - Civil), Dr. Robert McMurray (Engineering - Electrical/Electronic).

Dr Chi-Wai (Engineering - Mechanical), Mr Sean Boyle (Film Production), Mr Gareth Dickey (Graphic Design & Illustration),  Miss Megan King (Healthcare Professions),  Dr Ashley Harris (Languages),  Miss Laura Barron and Mr Jacob Gray (Law - Solicitor),   District Judge King (Law – Judicial).

Dr Alastair  Aicken  (Medicine – General Practitioner),  Dr Jenny Hughes (Medicine – Paediatrician), Miss Erin Fullerton  (Music Performance, Production and Technology),  Miss Emily Boyd and Mrs Liana Montgomery  (Nursing),   Dr Paul McCague (Pharmacy),   Mr Stephen Reid (Photography),

Mrs Judith Wright  (Physiotherapy),  Mr Mark Beattie (Primary Teaching),  Mrs Amanda Cherry (Social Work), Mrs Sheryl Jenkins  (Speech  &  Language  Therapy),  and Mrs Rosalind Craig (Veterinary Medicine).

A Careers Convention followed the presentations which was open to all pupils, from Year 10 to Year 13, and their parents. 

As well as the careers mentioned above, many others were represented, including C.A.F.R.E., Army, Banking, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Radiography, and  various Higher Education institutions.

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