‘Let’s put effort into giving young people the confidence to succeed’

Julie Richards, principal of Chesterfield College.
Julie Richards, principal of Chesterfield College.

Congratulations to those who got top grades in their exams and places at university, writes Julie Richards.

I also want to congratulate and reassure those who might have missed out on the grades they needed. The effort they put in by studying and sitting their exams shouldn’t be underestimated.

We are so busy celebrating the A* and the grade 9s we forget about the progress people might have made to get any grade in our exam system. So I want to shine a spotlight on them. It’s so important that as a community we reassure young people that there is always a way to get to where you want to be. It feels hard when you open the envelope to find results you weren’t expecting but it can be the making of you.

A recent campaign called #Nowrongpath which started in Scotland around the Higher Nationalresults day inspired me to write this column. Celebrities, business leaders and employees in various organisations shared their story from leaving school to doing the job they love, to reassure young people that the course of a great career doesn’t always run smoothly and certainly not in the way we intended.

When I left school aged 16, I came to study at Chesterfield College. It changed my life and set me on a path I had never even considered. I saw how further education makes a huge difference to people and how training and skills can give you so many options. For me it was the catalyst to how my career has developed and, as principal of the college, I witness how this still happens for students past and present.

So many roads lead to the same place and there is always a choice. Apprenticeships, for example, offer an amazing career pathway for many young people. Getting advice from professionals, like the careers and guidance team at Chesterfield College, is important as is advice from adults who have positive experiences to share.

Let’s put our time and effort into giving young people the confidence to succeed at whatever they choose.

I also want to congratulate and reassure those who might have missed out on the grades they needed. The effort they put in by studying and sitting their exams shouldn’t be underestimated.

We are so busy celebrating the A* and the grade 9s we forget about the progress people might have made to get any grade in our exam system. So I want to shine a spotlight on them. It’s so important that as a community we reassure young people that there is always a way to get to where you want to be. It feels hard when you open the envelope to find results you weren’t expecting but it can be the making of you.

A recent campaign called #Nowrongpath which started in Scotland around the Higher Nationalresults day inspired me to write this column. Celebrities, business leaders and employees in various organisations shared their story from leaving school to doing the job they love, to reassure young people that the course of a great career doesn’t always run smoothly and certainly not in the way we intended.

When I left school aged 16, I came to study at Chesterfield College. It changed my life and set me on a path I had never even considered. I saw how further education makes a huge difference to people and how training and skills can give you so many options. For me it was the catalyst to how my career has developed and, as principal of the college, I witness how this still happens for students past and present.

So many roads lead to the same place and there is always a choice. Apprenticeships, for example, offer an amazing career pathway for many young people. Getting advice from professionals, like the careers and guidance team at Chesterfield College, is important as is advice from adults who have positive experiences to share.

Let’s put our time and effort into giving young people the confidence to succeed at whatever they choose.