Does the future lie in Exam Results?

As thousands of school children throughout the UK opened their GCSE and A-Level exam results this month, some were celebrating whilst for others, it may have felt like the end of the world by not achieving their desired grades. Receiving exam results can be a stressful time for any individual and their family but it got me thinking, is it really worth the stress?

Yes, I know that’s easy for me to say but every person’s road to success is different! Some of the world’s most famous and most successful people did not make their fortune through their academic success and faced early career rejections….


Richard Branson dropped out of school at 16. His company, Virgin Group now own 200 companies in 30 countries around the world.

Steve Jobs dropped out of college and at 30 years old, was removed from the company he founded. Steve went on to create some of the most iconic products for Apple including the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Oprah Winfrey was told she was unfit for TV. After being demoted, Oprah went on to host her own self-titled talk show and ultimately heads her own TV Channel.

The legendary Walt Disney was told a mouse would never work…


Something that may seem significant to someone now may turn out to be instrumental in their journey to achieving greatness and I think we need to reinforce to our young people that what’s contained inside those envelopes does not dictate the future.


There are a lot more opportunities for young people nowadays to achieve success outside of an academic institution, with many companies and organisations offering apprenticeship and future development schemes. At ESF, we’re proud to work with Bryson FutureSkills which offers young people aged 16-24 the chance to achieve a range of qualifications whilst receiving on-the-job training. This is only one of a number of fantastic schemes currently available in Northern Ireland.


I’ve also had the privilege of speaking regularly for Young Enterprise NI to encourage people from year eight to 14 to look at business and vocational opportunities, outside of the normal University routes. We shared a quote on ESF’s social media channels recently that said;


“Success does not lie in results but in efforts. Being the best is not so important, doing your best is all that matters”.


I believe that for any young person who received grades less than what they expected, or for those who have faced rejection in their career, as long as you continue doing your best, you will one day reap the rewards of your success. So, keep going!

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