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The support and advice offered by Skills Development Scotland’s Exam Results Helpline is getting top marks from parent Susan Jeffrey.

Susan called the helpline on exam results day looking for help with a more detailed understanding of her son’s gradings, getting through to Careers Adviser Gillian Clark.

Susan said: “The two things that surprised me were the speed with which the call was answered, and the time Gillian was able to spend with me on the phone.

“The discussion went well beyond my original expectations.”

The free* helpline from Scotland’s careers service offers advice, information and guidance for young people and their parents and carers from 8am on SQA results day every year.

Susan added: ““I had called to talk about grading, and to get a bit more of a detailed explanation of the system.

“Gillian was extremely helpful and was able to answer further, more detailed questions over and above my initial enquiry.

“I was able to chat over my son’s options and next steps, looking at his subject choices for sixth year, as well as what that might lead to after school.”

Gillian is the SDS careers adviser for Charleston Academy in Inverness, this was her second year working on the helpline, where she joined colleagues from across the country at SDS’s call centre in Glasgow.

Gillian said: “Working on the helpline is hugely rewarding.

“We get to help people when they’re not sure where to turn, and that’s a real privilege.

“As SDS careers advisers, we can bring a breadth and depth of knowledge built up through our work year-round to every single call.”

Susan was clearly not the only caller who valued the professionalism and expertise SDS careers advisers like Gillian offer on the helpline.

99% of young people, their parents and carers who answered a post-call survey said they found the adviser they spoke to helpful and polite, 92% saying they would recommend using the helpline to a friend.

Despite answering hundreds of calls over the course of the helpline, Gillian says the 25 minutes she spent talking to Susan isn’t unusual.

“No matter your results, there are always lots of options of what to do next, and we want to make sure pupils, parents and carers get all the information they need at what can be a really emotional time.

“We also like to put callers in touch with their careers adviser in school or at their nearest centre, so they can continue to get support.”

SDS delivers Scotland’s careers services, with careers advisers working in every state secondary school in Scotland, as well as from its network of high street careers centres and through partner and community venues.

The service offers support no matter your age or what stage you’re at in your career.

Gillian added: “Whether it’s exam results, subject choices, career changing, going back to work after a baby or figuring out your next steps – careers advisers like me can help you.

“Drop in to your local SDS centre or get in touch with your school careers adviser.

“Or if you’re still not sure you want to talk face-to-face, you can register on Scotland’s careers website My World of Work to access a wealth of resources, advice and information.”

The SDS Exam Results Helpline will be ready to take calls again on results day 2020.

And Susan has no hesitation in recommending the service to others.

She said: “I would absolutely, 100 per cent tell other parents to call the helpline and chat to a careers adviser.

“It’s a great service.”


Find out more about SDS careers services, including the Exam Results Helpline.


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