Helpline goes live for exam results advice

John Swinney speaks with career adviser Nicole Grant during his visit to the SDS centre.
John Swinney speaks with career adviser Nicole Grant during his visit to the SDS centre.

A free national helpline offering advice, information and support for young people and their parents has gone live, ahead of SQA results day tomorrow.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has a free helpline which will be open from 8am until 8pm on August 8 and 9 and from 9am until 5pm from August 10 to 16.

Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney today met with the qualified careers advisers at SDS’s Glasgow contact centre who will handle calls from students and their parents.

Mr Swinney said: “Receiving your results can be exciting, scary and worrying all at the same time, and I think it’s important that we recognise this and make sure our young people have the right support available to them, to make the best decisions about their future.

“Moving on from school is an important and exciting step for young people. It’s vital that they know what their real options are and how to access them.

“This free helpline is an excellent service which is staffed by fully qualified and experienced careers advisers who will be able to help young people and their parents answer any questions about the choices going forward.

“If you get the results you are looking for, then that is fantastic. If you do better than expected or don’t get the grades you need this time round, then be certain that there are a huge number of options for you to consider and that there are a number of people available to support you.

“Whatever happens when the results come in tomorrow, remember that it will be a beginning, rather than an end point and if you are not sure or are looking for some advice then please do use this free helpline.”

James Russell, SDS acting Director of Operations, said that above all, the message to young people and their parents is to not panic.

He continued: “Everything might seem overwhelming at that point. Our experienced advisers are there to help and have information on all the options and opportunities young people can consider.”

Joanna Murphy, chairwoman of the National Parent Forum of Scotland, also said that the helpline can be a “real life line” for youngsters.

She said: “It offers young people and their parents and carers the chance to talk to someone who is impartial, which helps you to step back and take stock.

“Whether you’ve had unexpected results, or just want to talk over your choices, the advisers can talk you through the wide range of options available to you. A calm conversation takes some of the heat out of the emotion of the day, and reminds young people no matter the results, there is always a next step.”

The helpline number is 0808 100 8000.