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.