Next Step

Students looking at computer

If you've just finished your National Qualifications and are thinking of what to do next this section will give you some ideas and help you make plans for a bright, successful future.

Next step also provides you with useful hints and tips on CV writing, application forms and interviews.

This content has been produced in partnership with Skills Development Scotland.

Straight to work
Decision time

Vocational Qualifications

Modern Apprenticeships

Modern Apprenticeships offer anyone aged over 16 paid employment combined with the opportunity to train for jobs across a wide range of sectors. They are an exciting way of gaining skills and qualifications that will help to start a career without having to study full-time.


We have SVQs for most occupations in Scotland, from forestry to IT, management to catering, journalism to construction.

Discover how you can gain paid employment combined with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

Visit MySector and explore all our qualifications.

Straight to work

Application and CV

Putting an application or CV together that stands out is difficult, but try to do your best to secure an interview. We have some tips below that can help:CV and Application

  • Tell potential employers about your skills and how they fit the job specification. Remember to avoid making sweeping statements and quantify your answers – if you’re good at something tell them why and give an example.
  • Be creative – think not only about your work experience, but also about any life experiences you have: clubs your part of, achievements you have made and family members you help.
  • Think about volunteering, this will help you to get some much needed experience and show that you’re responsible. For more information on volunteering visit: My World of Work – How to apply for a volunteering role or My World of Work – Work experience options.
  • Get help – ask someone to look over your application, it is always useful if they have a career that has inspired you and they know about the field your applying to work in.


Remember everyone is nervous at interviews – even the people asking the questions, so stay calm and focused.

Before the interviewInterview

  • Research the organisation – take a look at the About us section of their website and annual reviews. Find out who the chief executive is and make a few notes on the organisation that you can use in the interview.
  • Read your application form or CV – make sure you can expand on skills and abilities you have mentioned when applying.
  • Arrive on time – leave plenty of time and arrive 15 minutes before the interview. If you’re taking public transport allow extra time and make sure you arrive calm and collected.
  • Be smart – wear something appropriate, suits, dresses, shirts and ties are always a good option.

At the Interview

Listen to the questions carefully so that you can answer them to the best of your ability. Give as much detail as possible in your answers – every interviewer likes examples so think STAR when answering the questions:

  • Situation – think of a situation from school, work or other activities that shows your talent, skills and abilities.
  • Task – describe the task, this is where the detail comes in and it’s important to remember the interviewer doesn’t know the context.
  • Action – tell them the action you took to improve, change or complete the task.
  • Result – Tell them the outcome, how you managed to achieve the final result. Make sure you include problems you managed to overcome.

Social media

Many companies monitor social media feeds and even review non direct tweets and status updates and some employers even check their prospective employees’ social media networks before offering them a job. So please be careful about what you say and put online.



Higher National Qualifications (HNQs)


Higher National Certificates (HNCs), Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) and Professional Development Awards (PDAs) are specially designed to meet the needs of employers both locally and internationally. So if you want a career with prospects Browse HNQs.

Case Study

HNC/HND Engineering Systems

“I would definitely recommend the HNC Engineering Systems to others. In fact, I’ve been actively encouraging my younger brother to enrol, as it has been so beneficial for me and I believe it will do the same for him. It is really challenging but if you put the hard work in it definitely pays off.” Thomas Miller

HNC/D Mechanical Engineering

“For me, the design stage of the qualification was the most interesting. The stuff I learned at James Watt College is pretty much the job that I do now. The HNC in Engineering Systems helped me get the role with Wood Group PSN, one of the major North Sea employers. I’ve just completed a three month stint at their Design Academy in Aberdeen, after which I will work as a Trainee Piping/Structural Engineer at the firm’s Glasgow offices." Ben Edwards



Decision time

Get help finding the next step in your life towards the future and career you want. My World of Work has developed My Strengths and My Job DNA to help you make these all important decisions.

My Strengths

Visit My World of Work – My Strengths and explore your strengths and talents. This will help you decide which jobs and subjects are best suited to you.

My Job DNA

Take the My Job DNA quiz on the My World of Work website. This fun quiz helps you to think about where your potential lies and what makes you tick.