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!