4 valuable lessons learnt after school

4 valuable lessons learnt after school

With the retirement age expected to rise to 67 by 2026-28, young people will soon work for 50 years or more. So it’s important to find what you love doing and make it into something that you’ll be happy spending half a century working on.

It’s an overwhelming thought.

Have you ever thought that perhaps expecting a 17-year-old to choose the profession they want to commit to and the courses that will get them there, is perhaps too much for young, inexperienced school leavers?

Whether you leave in Year 11 or 12, you’re about to enter the world outside school and start making moves towards your dream career. A lot of students find themselves overwhelmed with the burden of choice, because there are just so many options unexpectedly available.

Late last year at a local all-girls high school careers day, our Skillset representatives, Laura Cole and Jill Notzon attended as guest speakers, discussing post-school pathways and alternative career options with the girls.

The greatest takeaway from the event was that young people like to know that what they’re doing has a purpose and outcome. Working towards something of interest gives them a sense of direction and commitment.

Skillset Workforce Recruitment Manager, Jill Notzon, told students,
“it’s important to stay calm and think clearly about what your career goals are and how you’re going to achieve these. There are so many different pathways you can follow to achieve what you want, so ensure you research the industry and reach out to those who are already working in the field.”  

When asked what she would’ve done differently, Skillset Marketing Coordinator, Laura Cole said,
“I would’ve focussed more on balance. There’s so much pressure placed on obtaining top grades, but you’re also expected to gain life experience, and work to earn money, but you’re also required to be happy and enjoy life. There’s so much pressure. Take time for yourself. Enjoy being young. Study hard, but reward yourself and ensure you’re surrounding yourself with positive people.”

4 top tips for school leavers:

  • Research career pathways – have an understanding of what your options are. Don’t feel confined to the university pathway if this doesn’t align with your goals.
  • Get into a routine – to prepare yourself for professional life, be sure to get out of bed at a reasonable time and fill your days with productivity, be that in the form of obtaining qualifications or searching for work. Don’t let those extended breaks set you in a bad pattern which you will struggle to get out of.
  • Develop your network – the power of networking is often overlooked.  Establishing a professional network will put you in good stead for the future. Surrounding yourself with people who are supportive and encouraging will also ensure you have good advice and motivators wherever you go.
  • Gain experience – get involved in the industry you’re interested in! Whether this be volunteering or requesting an internship type position at an organisation you aspire to work for. This experience will improve your employability and help you in developing the hard and soft skills needed for your professional journey.

Could you use a hand in preparing your resume or finding your dream job? Contact the Skillset Workforce Team to see how they can help you!



Skillset Senior College Bathurst campus officially opened their much anticipated multi-purpose sports court this week to enhance the development of the college’s PDHPE program, with the intention of bringing greater opportunities for active participation amongst the school community.

Skillset Senior College Principal and Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo says the project was independently funded by Skillset Senior College and is another addition to the college’s expanding sports program.

Mr Randazzo says, “this fully, self-funded project will allow for the staff and students to compete in various sports which will elevate the quality of education and encourage participation for students. The school continues to enhance the college sports program in particular every second week the school comes together for a barbeque and sports afternoon. It’s wonderful to see our entire school community come together and the enjoyment it brings to the students and staff.”

Skillset Senior College operate within a student-centred model, focusing on the individual needs of its students. The PDHPE program at Skillset Senior College is to assist students with an understanding of holistic health to improve physical and mental wellbeing.

Skillset Senior College PDHPE teacher, Jono Hosking, says, “the multi-purpose sports court will enhance the students’ application and participation in a range of sports including tennis, basketball, netball and handball. This program is critical in fostering students wellbeing, improving communication and team working skills as well as improving overall fitness and physical health.”

The construction of the multi-court reinforces the college’s vision to offer first class facilities to all students. There have been a number of additions at the Bathurst campus including the federally funded Association of Independent Schools Block Grant Authority covered outdoor learning area, a small farm, access to a student kitchen as well as significant classroom improvements to provide a well-resourced physical learning environment within which students can grow personally and thrive educationally.










Laycee’s guide to surviving life after high school

Laycee Covington came into Skillset reception in November 2016. She was referred to Youth Connect after just having finished her HSC, where she was registered and supported by her consultant, Sarah Bradbury.

Laycee had no idea what her next steps following high school – she was seeking job search advice and wanted to know what training was available for her. At this stage, there were numerous pathways available and the decisions were endless:
• Laycee had been thinking about applying for university but claimed her school teachers had told her she wouldn’t achieve the ATAR needed and, that a university degree wasn’t realistic.
However, she was keen to explore available education pathways so that she could expand her future career options.
• Laycee had been working at McDonalds but her role there was soon finishing.
• She was also wanting to move out of home.

Sarah worked intensively with Laycee to identify her skills and interests and focussed on numerous career planning activities. Laycee had a profound interest in computers, so thought about related career paths in IT, computer science or the creative industries.

She was also interested in nursing, law and criminal justice studies, but had no idea about where these courses could take her, so Sarah assisted her to understand each of the industries, the various jobs available and how she could commence through VET and one-day progress in to University if she still wanted to.

Laycee initially decided nursing might be the best option for her, she was then introduced to both TAFE and CSU to discuss nursing pathways. She explored a few other ideas at TAFE but eventually decided on working towards her Certificate III in Screen and Media as she was drawn to the idea of eventually doing a Bachelor of Media Communication.

Laycee says, “I started working towards my Certificate III Screen and Media but after a couple of months withdrew as I began casual work in the finishing room at DEVRO. I needed an income in order to support myself and felt as though I couldn’t do this while studying at TAFE.”

Sarah kept in touch with Laycee and after a few months, Laycee contacted Sarah to say that she wasn’t enjoying the work and wanted help to go back to study or find another job. Laycee was then guided in exploring study options and at one point was keen to relocate to Wollongong, so Sarah explored TAFE and university courses in the Illawarra.

During this time, Laycee was interviewed by Skillset for a Business Traineeship, but was not successful. She continued in her casual role at DEVRO while exploring other work and study ideas. In August, 2017 Sarah let Laycee know about an IT traineeship advertised by Skillset. The traineeship host employer just so happened to be DEVRO. With great excitement, Laycee applied and was thankfully successful in this application.
In Laycee’s final year of her traineeship, DEVRO experienced some organisational change which she had been commended for by her supervisors for the degree of commitment, professionalism and loyalty shown towards the company.

Despite the initial setbacks and belief that Laycee would never excel in tertiary study, she received excellent results throughout the entire traineeship, was an early completion of the course and as a result of her workplace performance, has been offered a full time role at DEVRO.

Laycee says, “I’m proud of my achievements and TAFE results, I achieved more than I thought I ever could. I’m interested in now completing further study and completing my Bachelor in IT.”


Based on Laycee’s post school journey, she has made some recommendations for high school leavers:
Explore what support services, such as Youth Connect are available to you – these services can really help you to reflect on your long term goals and focus on the best pathway to achieving these.
Look for every opportunity to improve yourself and gain more knowledge – whether you’re in causal work or a traineeship, always take on extra tasks in your workplace to gain greater experience and ask questions for clarification.
Don’t be afraid to step back and change direction – if you feel as though your first decision didn’t turn out the way you wanted, or you aren’t engaged with the course, make the change to something that is of interest.
There’s no rush – don’t feel pressured to follow one particular pathway just because it’s what the majority of your school peers are doing. If you’re not sure what you want to do, take some time out to assess your options and decide what works best for you and where you want to be.

Who would’ve thought?! There’s life after highschool.

Who would’ve thought?! There’s life after highschool.

Whether you leave in Year 11 or 12, you’re about to enter the world outside school and start making moves towards your dream career. A lot of students find themselves overwhelmed with the burden of choice, because there are just so many options unexpectedly available.

It’s important to stay calm and think clearly about what your career goals are and how you’re going to achieve these goals. Really take the time to think about your passions, not just following the same path as the rest of your friends.

These are just five of your post-school options, no matter which path you pursue, be prepared to put in the same effort to making your adult years productive.

University is often thought of as the only option for becoming qualified and making a reasonable income, but that isn’t the case.

Uni classes aren’t anything like your regular high school classes. Whilst it may seem like a dream come true not having teachers on your back to get work done, you’ll have to hold yourself accountable for getting assessments completed on time and to a satisfactory standard.

University offers flexibility in regards to choosing between online distance education or face-to-face on campus learning environments. Additionally, you can choose to complete your degree on a part time or full time basis.

University also offers mammoth opportunities for your social life! You’ll get to hang with a community of like-minded students, be invited to heaps of events, join an array of groups and clubs, and get to fully exercise your independence.

Is university right for you?
• Is a university degree essential for your ideal job?
• Do you prefer an independent learning environment?
• Are you proactive and effective with time management?

Still considering uni but worried that your ATAR wasn’t high enough to get you into your preferred course? Bridging courses offer you a second chance, however the workload is often very intense over a short period of time. The course can also set you back the equivalent of your first year at uni so you’ll definitely want to ensure you’ve made the right decision prior to commencing a bridging course!


Many people who did not do well academically in high school choose trades, leading to the false perception that tradesmen are not “intelligent.” This is certainly not true. The university learning environment just isn’t for everyone.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) provides numerous pathways that help you to gain a certificate or diploma, whether this be through TAFE, a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) such as Skillset, or completing a traineeship or apprenticeship with an organisation directly.

The labour market is very favourable in the trades, and blue-collar work is quickly becoming one of the better-paying career choices. Studying VET provides a much more hands-on, practical learning experience in your chosen profession.

Is VET right for you?
• Do you prefer to learn in a practical, hands-on environment?
• Were you hoping to complete your qualifications in less than 2 years?
• Do you enjoy physically demanding work that is also mentally challenging?
• Do you want to be able to earn while you learn?

VET graduates are more likely to be employed full-time.
Up to 82% of VET graduates are employed after training;
compared to only 68% of university graduates finding full-time work.

From July 1, 2018, the NSW Government made new apprenticeships fee-free – meaning no more upfront training costs for students or employers. This also ensures that VET graduates have a lower HECS-HELP debt than university graduates.

If job security is more of your concern, learning a trade is a smart way to secure your future – in the next 12 months alone, experts predict NSW will need another 50,000 skilled construction workers and 19,000 chefs.


For some, the transition to work right after high school will be a permanent one, and that can be another pathway to your dream career.

You may start casual, which means flexible, usually minimal hours. There’s also part-time, which is for roles that only require you to work a few hours or days a week, and full-time, which means you’ll be working around 38 hours a week in your role.

Consider whether the position is a career or a job. A career has two key components that a job does not: room to advance and increasing earning potential. In contrast, a job just pays the bills.
Going straight to the workforce out of high school is a good choice if your work qualifies as a career; if not, think twice.
Settling for a job rather than a career can send you to an unfulfilling dead end. While a job can provide extra spending money in high school, chances are it won’t pay the bills as you enter adulthood.

There are plenty of benefits to working: You get to start earning money immediately and begin building your superannuation, which is money set aside from your pay to help you later on in retirement… which is something you have to think about once you finish school!

You’ll gain some great experience, develop communication skills and learn how to navigate professional environments, which is its own very valuable skill.

No further study also means… no further study. Also: no HECS-HELP debt or study loans.

Some people consider working first and studying later in life as a mature age student when they’ve decided what industry they’d like to work in where they can take their valuable, practical knowledge with them. There are still a number of things you’ll need to keep in mind though. By jumping straight into work, you might be limiting your opportunities for structured, formal learning later on.

Gap Year.

Still not sure how you want to spend your days after graduation? We get it. You might be so overwhelmed with your high school workload, you’ll want to take a break and unwind before plunging into the next stage of your life. Sometimes, that’s the best thing to do, which is why a lot of students consider a gap year after high school.

If you don’t really know what you want to do, or completing assessments wasn’t really your thing, why would you rush into doing it for another few years?!

What do you do in a gap year?
• Travel – interstate, internationally… wherever! Just take off and learn about other cultures and discover what the wider world has to offer.
• Work casually/part-time – You could start working; save up a bunch of money at a casual job, or gain some work experience in a few of your different dream industries.
• Chill out – do nothing. Read, watch movies, learn a new language, do whatever you have always wanted to do! Just take time for yourself.

Gap years allow you to gain life experience and grow on a personal level. They’re also a chance to take a break from academic pressures and explore what options are available whilst also travelling, working or volunteering, to experience other cultures and broaden your horizons.

Gap years have plenty of benefits: They get you out of the study bubble and help you gain some life experience, either by leaving home to see the world, or by putting others first through volunteering. Even the ‘chill out’ option helps you reboot if you’re burnt out from study, and gives you the time and mental breathing room to think about what it is you want to do with your life and helps to discover your passions.
Keep in mind though, gap years can be expensive and set you behind your peers who may be studying and focussed on progressing towards their careers. If you’re thinking of taking a gap year, ensure you’re choosing the path for the right reasons.


It’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong choice – you can change direction at any time, it’s just a matter of reminding yourself of your goals and getting started. No matter what pathway you choose, you will gain independence and life experience and that’s the exciting thing about finishing high school.

Good luck with everything that lies ahead for you and remember to stay calm, the best is yet to come.



Skillset Senior College is expanding to open its second campus in Dubbo in Term 1 2019. Initially catering for 34 Year 10 students, the school features a small and supportive learning environment that focusses on individual needs, student well-being, small class sizes and high levels of student engagement.

Skillset Senior College has been successfully operating in Bathurst since 2015, and will be launching their second senior school campus in Dubbo. The College promotes values and behaviours that lead to mutual respect and responsibility and is aiming to develop a more adult-styled learning environment, with small class sizes, and shared responsibility across many school activities.

Skillset Senior College Dubbo will initially cater for 34 Year 10 students. The Year 10 students will have the opportunity to undertake NESA approved courses, leading to the Record of School Achievement (RoSA). By 2021, Skillset Senior College Dubbo Campus will offer Years 10, 11 and 12, with Year 12 students undertaking the Higher School Certificate (HSC).

The Dubbo campus will be located at the former TAFE NSW Dubbo College on the corner of Bultje and Fitzroy Streets. Some fit-out work is already taking place with a new amenities block and interior fencing soon to be commenced with some further work on a kitchen facility also planned.

Skillset Senior College Principal and Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo says he is looking forward to opening the school in Dubbo following four successful years of operating in Bathurst.

“We’ve seen some amazing outcomes through Skillset Senior College in Bathurst since 2015, and we are really delighted to be bringing this opportunity for years 10 to 12 students to Dubbo. We operate on a student-centred model, always focusing on the individual needs of our young people.”

“At Skillset Senior College, we partner with a range of local community organisations to provide holistic support beyond the classroom. We absolutely acknowledge the great work being done by mainstream schools across the state, but in a city the size of Dubbo, some students just may not fit what’s on offer. Our aim is to provide a school community where we can work together to overcome educational and personal barriers through a proven individual strengths-based approach to learning and support said Craig.”
Mr Randazzo added, “Education drives economic and social mobility, and we are excited about the life-changing opportunities we can bring to Dubbo from next year.”

Expressions of interest are now open for young people going into year 10 in 2019, as well as for Teachers and Learning and Support Staff. For more information on the college or to express interest in enrolling, visit: www.skillsetseniorcollege.nsw.edu.au or call 1300 167 794.

Apprentice Wage Subsidy to Support Regional and Remote Businesses

Apprentice Wage Subsidy to Support Regional and Remote Businesses

Skillset Workforce - Australian Apprentice Wage SubsidyThe Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy trial being launched on January 1, 2019 aims to support apprenticeships in skills need occupations in rural and regional areas. The subsidy will encourage participation in apprenticeships by employers who have not previously engaged apprentices, as well as re-engaging employers who may have disengaged from the system. Additional employer eligibility criteria will apply and local apprenticeship specialists Skillset are encouraging businesses to contact them for more information.

The Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy is available to employers who sign-up and commence a new worker Australian Apprentice from 1 January 2019. The subsidy is capped at 1630 commencements, nationally.

The subsidy will cover up to 75 per cent of an apprentices first-year wage, reducing down to 25 per cent of the award wage by the third year of training.

Skillset Chief Executive Officer Craig Randazzo welcomes the announcement and the support it will provide to increase the number of apprentices in regional NSW. “This is a positive government initiative and will contribute towards addressing the skills gaps being felt across regional NSW. Employing an apprentice can be a rewarding and smart decision to make for your business, especially with the support and mentoring that Skillset provides with our fully managed service through Skillset Workforce.”

Mr Randazzo added that employers should be aware of eligibility requirements and seek advice from Skillset before hiring an apprentice. “There will be specific eligibility requirements and it is not guaranteed that businesses will receive the subsidy. We encourage businesses who are looking to take on an apprentice to contact Skillset Workforce. Managing apprentices can at times be complex and Skillset can assist with a number of services including recruitment, assessment, shortlisting, specialist mentoring, training support, safety assessments and general administrative assistance such as payroll and minimising workers’ insurance risks and costs.”

To find out more about recruiting an apprentice or trainee, and the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy, call Skillset Workforce on 1300 853 525 or email info@skillset.com.au.