Education for Employability

Education for Employability aims to ensure that all young people develop the personal qualities, skills, knowledge, understanding and attitudes that will give them a strong foundation for lifelong learning and work. These skills are equally important for all young people, whether they want to go straight into the world of work or to university.

Education for Employability has a key role to play in preparing young people for the world of work. At Key Stage 3, the Education for Employability strand focuses on three key concepts:

  • Work in the Local and Global Economy;
  • Career Management; and
  • Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.

For further details see the Statutory Requirement for Employability.

Key Elements

Education for Employability is underpinned by the Key Elements of Employability, Economic Awareness and Education for Sustainable Development.


For more information on Key Stage 3 Employability, contact:

Kathryn Gilbert
(028) 9026 1200 extension 2632
Roisin Radcliffe
(028) 9026 1200 extension 2195


WOW Factor WOW Factor

The WOW Factor aims to help young people to be able to make informed decisions about their future World Of Work (WOW).

Employability Employability

Education for Employability ensures that all young people develop the personal qualities, skills, knowledge, understanding and attitudes which will give them a strong foundation for lifelong learning and work.

Learning for Life and Work Integrated Activities

Food Miles (Home Economics / Employability) 5.4 MB - uploaded 21-04-2015

Food Miles (Resource 1) 120 KB - uploaded 21-04-2015

Migrant Workers (Employability / Local and Global Citizenship) 6.3 MB - uploaded 21-04-2015

Migrant Workers (Resource 1) 3.9 MB - uploaded 21-04-2015

Teacher Insight Programme

The Teacher Insight Programme aims to show teachers the variety of occupations available in Northern Ireland. It aspires to raise the profile of the skills and qualities that young people need to ensure they are ready for work. It does this by giving teachers opportunities to experience first-hand the range of opportunities available in any work environment.

This above clip is an example of one of our Teacher Insight Events at WIN Business Park in Newry.

Other Teacher Insight Events

Teacher Insight Event – Civil Engineering November 2016

This event, hosted by the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), gave teachers a valuable insight into the career of civil engineering. It is one of the oldest engineering disciplines. It deals with the built environment, including planning, designing and overseeing construction. It also involves maintaining building structures and facilities such as roads, railways, airports, bridges, harbours, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, and water and sewage systems.

Teachers heard presentations from AECOM, TransportNI and Translink. They then travelled to City Quays for a presentation and visit to the Lagan Construction site.

Teachers get to visit the City Quays 2 Lagan Construction site to see civil engineering in action.
Teachers get to visit the City Quays 2 Lagan Construction site to see civil engineering in action.

What teacher had to say …

‘Thank you so much for inviting me to this event. It has really inspired me to encourage my students down this route.’

‘The event was a very good day, and well organised by yourselves and ICE with lots of interesting speakers on the potential careers in civil engineering.’

Teacher Insight Event to CAFRE – Loughry Campus March 2017

This event gave teachers a valuable insight into the wide range of employment opportunities supported by courses at the Loughry campus. Teachers gained a valuable insight into Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector, ranked in the top three STEM industries for future careers and opportunities. They had hands-on experience of specific areas such as new product development, food manufacture and processing, packing technology and supply chain management.

Teachers find out that making sausages is not as simple as it looks at CAFRE Loughry campus
Teachers find out that making sausages is not as simple as it looks at CAFRE Loughry campus.

What teachers had to say …

‘It was really interesting and beneficial for me both as a Business Studies teacher and as head of careers. The event allowed me to update my knowledge of the food industry. CAFRE is such an amazing facility and I will be encouraging pupils to see it as a viable option for both FE and HE courses.’

‘I found the insight day at Loughry inspiring and it helped to affirm the message we aim to deliver to pupils about the value of Home Economics, Food and Nutrition, and Nutrition and Food Science in preparing for an exciting and lucrative career.’

‘It served as a useful reminder of the range of career options available to pupils and helped to improve my awareness of the main players in Northern Ireland’s food industry.’

‘I thoroughly enjoyed the day and it was very worthwhile for me. The facilities, courses provided and enthusiasm of staff was very encouraging. I will certainly be promoting Loughrey courses to my Double Award Science and A level Biology students. Their approach to courses is so much in line with industry and it is obvious to see why so many of their students obtain employment very quickly.’

Teacher Insight Visit to Magellan Aerospace – 27th October 2017

Teachers had the opportunity to visit Magellan Aerospace, a global, integrated aerospace company that provides complex assemblies and systems solutions to aircraft and engine manufacturers, and defence and space agencies worldwide. The visit gave teachers a valuable insight into careers within specialist engineering and make connections between the Northern Ireland Curriculum and its relevance and application to work based learning and a range of career opportunities. During the visit teachers had the opportunity to explore the shop floor, getting a full walk-through from design to finished component, and participate in a Q&A session with apprentices, graduates and placement students.

Teachers find out that making sausages is not as simple as it looks at CAFRE Loughry campus

What the teachers said...

“There is a clear link and obvious transferable skills from the practical aspect of Technology and Design and the work being carried out in the workshops in Magellan.”

“The site tour was an excellent opportunity to see what happens and at first hand. It was helpful to be able to discuss with students and see what we could expect from a school visit.”

“It was excellent to hear from the apprentices that they valued the practical work completed in Technology & Design quite highly and directly related it to their career. I will be looking at opportunities to increase the amount of practical work for KS3 pupils”

“A very worthwhile day which inspired a different approach to teaching methods and classroom practice. Also the benefits of Tech. route to career as opposed to university degree.”

“Loved this event ...would consider taking a whole STEM staff outing to see it.”

Teacher Insight Visit to Catalyst Inc – 15th November 2017

Catalyst Inc is Northern Ireland’s next generation science park. An independent, not for profit organization, their mission is to build a community of innovators so powerful its people can change the world. The teachers were given the opportunity to gain a valuable insight into knowledge economy companies with “hands on” visits to four Belfast-based companies, Proaxis, ECIT, Novosco, and Citi Group. Teachers were able to identify connections between the Northern Ireland Curriculum and possible career pathways for students.

Teachers find out that making sausages is not as simple as it looks at CAFRE Loughry campus

What the teachers said …

“One of the best events I have been at. We really need more events like this if advisers within the education sector are to be kept up to date with industry. It also gives us an opportunity to build up a network of contacts. This will help with contacts for industry talks, work placements etc. Well done and I will really look forward to the next event. Money so well spent.”

“This was a very informative and interesting day. I really enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend it to colleagues.  I wish this message and this experience could be taken to schools in some form of roadshow. I would love any of these companies to link up with my school for a project in science, enterprise or IT. Thank you to Catalyst, all the companies involved and to CCEA for organising.”

“I filled in for another member of staff at the last moment but would have loved to have had more staff from my school there as well. I felt quite energised after the course and would be very keen to work with my STEM colleagues and Careers Department to promote participation in generation innovation initiatives and competitions to foster our own young innovators. Thank you for a most enjoyable day.”

Teacher Insight Visit to Almac – 6th February 2018

The Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation that provides an extensive range of integrated services to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally. The visit gave teachers a valuable insight into potential STEM based career options and provided them with a better understanding of how Science is used in an industrial setting. During the visit teachers enjoyed tours of Almac Global Headquarters in Craigavon and heard presentations from Almac employees.

Teachers find out that making sausages is not as simple as it looks at CAFRE Loughry campus

What the teachers said …

“Very beneficial especially as Almac is the largest employer in our area so we could see the stem careers and take this knowledge back to our classrooms. Great to make links with Almac, this is highly important to link classroom to industry. We could see science in action e.g. how chromatography etc. are used in the work place.”

“I hadn't realised the breadth of jobs and the entry requirements available. There are opportunities for employees to progress regardless of their educational background.”

“I will be able to describe local real life examples of how the course content/skills can be applied in our community.”

“I will be able to give pupils examples of local careers that are directly connected to what they are studying.”

“I think as this company is on our doorstep, it is a great example to showcase the use of Chemistry and other subjects e.g. STEM.”

Teacher Insight Visit to CAFRE, Greenmount Campus – 23rd March 2018

This visit gave teachers a valuable insight into Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector which is ranked in the top 3 STEM industries for future careers and opportunities.  As science is a key entry subject into Greenmount courses in agriculture and horticulture, the visit was of particular interest to science and careers teachers and covered aspects of how science is key in agriculture and horticulture production. The visit included tours of the horticulture and dairy centre with presentations from staff, graduates and current students. ·Information on agriculture and horticulture courses, syllabus support for schools and career opportunities within the agri-food industry were provided throughout the day.

Teachers find out that making sausages is not as simple as it looks at CAFRE Loughry campus

What the teachers said …

“I will be able to state to my ks3 pupils some of the key things are important in some of the job titles mentioned on that day.”

“Excellent to hear from a representative who has attended Greenmount, continued his studies and has a definite finger on the pulse of agriculture in action today.”

“This was really useful in helping me understand how farming is progressing and the importance of science behind the working of a farm (particularly if a farm wants to succeed and compete in an already competitive market).”

“This was excellent. Matthew is a fantastic example and has a great story to tell. The challenge of getting his place, how he spent his time there and what he is doing now. A fantastic student and young person - who was able to present fluently and without prompts to an intimidating audience. Inspiring!”

“Enables me to talk more confidently about advances in horticulture, use of genetics to improve yields etc.”

“Has broadened my knowledge of careers related to agriculture and how the skills/knowledge taught in my classroom relate to them.”

“I found the whole visit beneficial, from the talks to the facilities, to talking to other teachers and making new connections. I really enjoyed it.”

“The whole day was really well organised and the speakers were very informative. I personally found the day really enjoyable and insightful.”

Teacher Insight Event to Graham Construction Ulster Hospital site – 15th June 2018

Teachers had the opportunity to visit Graham Construction, a multi-skilled organisation operating in the construction, asset management and project investment sectors offering services to a diverse range of clients in the UK and Ireland. The visit gave teachers a valuable insight into the wide range of career options offered by the construction industry and outlined the various modes of entry into the industry from post 16 onwards. The visit supported teachers in making connections between the taught curriculum in their subject and how they could link this to real life work contexts. During the visit, teachers had the opportunity to tour the construction site at the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald and use virtual reality based Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology.

Grahams Construction visit demo Grahams Construction visit group

What the teachers said:

"Fantastic to hear the many types of careers on offer to pupils.it was also heartening to hear that academic achievement wasn’t the be all and that hard work and a determination to do well will and can pull you through. This is certainly the message I will be taking to my pupils. Fantastic to hear about the options over part time degrees..."

"As teachers we have a limited idea of careers that are not similar to our own and we are not best placed to give pupils careers advice. It should be part of whole school teacher training to train up all staff on the careers available. Especially the new digital ones. Best course I’ve been on in a while. Thank you."

"To see the range of jobs available was inspiring and the onus is on us to make our young people aware of the opportunities and the different apprenticeships that are available."

"For me this was an eye-opener. I had no idea of how much work, detail, organisation went into something like this. I found Gary (I think Gary was his name) very good at giving the tour. He had little anecdotes that made the experience very interesting."

Teacher Insight Visit to Belfast Catalyst Fintech Hub - 8th November 2018

This Teacher Insight visit was hosted by Catalyst Inc and took place over two sites, the new Belfast Catalyst Fintech Hub at Danske Bank, Belfast and Deloitte, Belfast. During the visit teachers had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Grainne Watson from Analytics Engine who gave them a fascinating overview of what Artificial Intelligence is (and isn't!) followed by presentations from a range of companies (Danske Bank, Microsoft, Deloitte, Power NI, Coca Cola) showcasing how Artificial Intelligence and Automation have impacted the way they work. The day was wrapped up with a presentation from Professor Norman Apsley on 4IR.

Belfast Catalyst Fintech Hub

What the teachers said:

“It was great to hear from employers about what they are looking for in employees so that I can help prepare my pupils for the future and the working world. My classes want relevant and real examples when discussing technology and I will be able to give these when teaching different topics as these companies have given some context to different Digital concepts like neural networks, sensors, automations etc.”

“The course included material about AI which is a component on the new Digital Technology specification and is something I have basically taught myself so it was great to get an insight into some experts in this area. The course discussed different technological advancements and made everything so relevant to today's society and the future.”

“Innovation and design thinking is at the core of the T&D curriculum. Seeing it applied within a broad spectrum of industries and applications (not just manufacturing) was very useful. There was also lots of information for me to feed back to the careers team at my school as well as information about Catalyst specific events.”

Please review all links to judge their suitability before using them with your class.

Careers Service NI nidirect.gov.uk The Careers Service provides an impartial careers information, advice and guidance service to help young people and adults make informed choices about their career paths.

Northern Ireland Skills Barometer – Skills in Demand economy-ni.gov.uk This site provides a detailed understanding of the skill requirements for the Northern Ireland economy up to 2025. It aims to ensure that any skills gaps are identified and filled.

Where the work is wheretheworkis.org This interactive tool enables users to explore demand for particular mid-skill roles, the potential salary benefits and likely levels of competition for these positions.

Young Enterprise NI – Post-Primary Suite yeni.co.uk The Young Enterprise Post-Primary suite takes young people from Stage 1, raising awareness of employability competencies, through to Stage 4 where they model key competencies through real-life experience.

Life Skills created by Barclays barclayslifeskills.com LifeSkills, created with Barclays, is a free, curriculum-linked programme developed with teachers to help improve the skills and employability of young people in the UK.

Northern Ireland Schools and Colleges Careers Education (NISCA) nisca.org.uk NISCA is an association that works to enhance the quality of careers provision in schools and regional colleges and to create a desire for lifelong learning.

Generation Innovation: Connect: Catalyst Inc connect.catalyst-inc.org Generation Innovation energises local young people’s imaginations and aspirations by increasing their awareness of future careers as innovators.

Free Teaching Resources free-teaching-resources.co.uk Free Personal, Social, Health and Environment at Key Stage 3 teaching resources for post-primary teachers.