When our career counsellors meet with school leavers or younger students thinking about what they might want to do once they leave school, there is often much confusion and many questions around study options and pathways. School leavers can feel significant pressure to make the right decision about further education and training, but sometimes taking an alternative path first is a viable option.
There are many avenues that school leavers can pursue. Some of these include:
- Continuing with further education through University
- Studying one of the thousands of courses offered through TAFE, private RTOs (Registered Training Organisations), or Community Training Providers
- Securing an Australian Apprenticeship
- Finding employment
- Participating in community or volunteer work
- Taking a break to travel
- Starting your own business
- Or a combination of these options
Choosing what you want to do with your life should be based on what you’re interested in and what you enjoy doing. You probably have a pretty good idea by now about what you’re good at academically and where your other strengths lie, so pursuing options that follow these strengths is ideal. However, don’t stress if your career options don’t appear obvious, or you feel like what you enjoy doing may not be attainable as a long term career.
It could be helpful at this point to complete an online career assessment, undertake some research on one of the many useful career sites, or participate in a career counselling session with a qualified practitioner who can help you identify your passions and make some viable choices regarding career options.
Some interesting online resources for school leavers include:
http://www.myfuture.edu.au/ – a national, online career exploration and information system that can help you identify different career options by analysing your skills, interests, values and aspirations.
http://www.jobguide.deewr.gov.au – a site describing 1500+ occupations which can provide a great starting point for making career decisions.
http://www.myuniversity.gov.au/ – a broad range of information about Australian universities and other higher education providers.
http://www.education.gov.au/career-bullseye-posters – this site helps you look at subjects you like at school and what careers might be of interest.
One important point to remember if you are considering going to University straight from school – you may need to check the course requirements to make sure you meet the prerequisites. Ideally, this is best done in Year 10, before you pick your Year 11 and 12 subjects.
It is important to do something when you leave school – both for your self-esteem and also to show future employers that you are proactive and innovative. If you really have no idea what you want to do with your life, choose something to do, but don’t base your decision on what your friends are doing or what you feel pressured to do. There are many resources out there to help you identify what you might be good at, and most importantly, what you would enjoy – seek them out and take advantage.