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.
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.
The 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 email@example.com.
Skillset Environment Land Works crew recently completed a revegetation project with Hy-Tec Austen Quarry in Hartley. This project aimed at protecting the threatened species Silver-leaved Mountain Gums, creating additional natural habitat, reconnecting the landscape and producing future seed collection populations.
As part of this work the Quarry Supervisor Craig McDonald, organised a visit from Hampton Public School to learn about planting and threatened local species. Land Works crew, Jack Fry, Jarred Kemester and Phill New demonstrated the innovative method that Land Works uses, including tree fungi powder, water crystals, tree tonic and fertiliser.
By participating in environmental projects and involving local schools and businesses, we are teaching the next generation about threatened species and the importance of conserving our ecosystems.
Introducing the wider community to the importance of enhancing and restoring the natural habitats of vulnerable species is imperative in ensuring that the landscapes of our local regions are sustained long into the future.
Hampton Public School students learnt that planting a little deeper and creating a small dam/basin on the lower side will catch rain water and naturally water the plants. Students helped plant 30 threatened Silver-leaved Mountain Gums and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Hampton Public School Principal, Belinda Greer says, “many thanks are extended to Skillset for educating our students on the role they play in protecting the various ecosystems. They learnt to appreciate the natural and manmade habitats, and now have a much greater perspective on how vital these are to our survival.”
Skillset have launched their inaugural Skillset Christmas Scholarship which is a $1000 prize awarded to an individual from around the Central West and Orana region, who has excelled in their area of education or employment.
Skillset CEO, Craig Randazzo says, “the Skillset Christmas Scholarship aims to encourage recipients to continue on their career development journey and spend the prize in a way which supports ongoing learning.”
Sam Dent, who recently completed the Skills4Trade Civil Construction Course at TAFE NSW Mudgee campus, was announced as the 2018 Scholarship winner. Sam has been acknowledged as a dedicated and compassionate student with a significant passion and natural talent for the trade.
“Sam’s knowledge was of high standard and he provided other students with support needed to nurture their learning and encourage growth in the subject. Sam’s natural leadership was highlighted both in and outside the classroom, working as a leader in the support of learning and the completion of group based activities”, says TAFE teacher, Michael Beohm.
Scholarship winner, Sam Dent with Skillset General Manager, Jane McWilliam and CEO, Craig Randazzo
Sam says, “the Skills4Trade course provided me with a positive learning environment which allowed me to identify my strengths and trial the industry before committing. With the New Year in sight, I’m really hoping to gain some more hands on experience and obtain a job in civil construction or mining.”
Sam added, “I am incredibly grateful to have been considered for this Scholarship. For so long, I was made to feel as though there was no chance of me succeeding, but I’ve now found my passion. This Scholarship has made me even more driven towards achieving my goals and taking advantage of the many opportunities available.”