Northern Ireland's universities and further education colleges have joined forces in a groundbreaking initiative aimed at providing comprehensive information about local higher education options to school leavers.

Traditionally, school leavers, parents, and career advisors faced challenges in accessing a complete listing of higher education courses. Now, for the first time, Queens University Belfast will host dedicated pages on their websites featuring a comprehensive listing of all higher education opportunities available to school leavers. These pages will not only serve as a guide for those who did not receive an offer from traditional university routes but will also highlight alternative pathways, including foundation degrees, higher level apprenticeships and higher education courses at Northern Ireland's six local Further Education Colleges.

The primary objective of this initiative is to ensure that Northern Ireland's school leavers are aware of the diverse and valuable routes to obtaining a university degree through the regional colleges. By showcasing the range of offerings available, the collaboration aims to empower school leavers to make informed decisions about their educational journey and future career prospects.

The project represents a significant milestone as tertiary education providers jointly address the challenge of guiding students towards suitable pathways. Beyond benefiting students, the initiative is expected to positively impact employers by nurturing a pipeline of highly skilled individuals entering the local workforce.

Leo Murphy, Chair of the College Principals' Group, emphasised the importance of instilling confidence in school leavers, stating, "Young people who do not receive their expected grades for university should not lose hope or feel that they must forgo their career aspirations."

Professor Ian Greer, Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University, highlighted the extensive range of higher education options available at local colleges, underscoring them as viable alternatives to traditional university routes.

To view the Queens University website, click HERE. Ulster University’s FE pathway programmes will be found from its home page from early July.