Friday 20 February 2015

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Everyone has a skill or an interest that can turn into a career. You do too – even if you don’t know it. Have a think about what you really like doing or enjoy reading about or watching on TV or something you already know you’re good at. It can lead you to amazing places.

Have a goal in mind

When someone is working towards a goal you can usually see it. Look at the people around you and you might notice that some of them have a sense of purpose – they know what they are going to do and how to make it happen. They understand that the more they learn, the more opportunities they have. You may have other friends who have already gained qualifications and are working in careers they are passionate about.
You can shift into this gear too once you have your goal in mind. But you need to explore your options first so you know how to get there.
'I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I saw university as an opportunity to learn more about the different disciplines to see what might be a good fit for me. I loved science at school and so I enrolled in a Bachelor of Science. I then signed up for a unit in psychology because I had a general interest in the way people think and I wanted to learn what psychology was all about. I haven’t looked back since.'
Paul Grey, psychologist and Charlie Perkins Scholar at Oxford University
You may already know what you want to achieve. Or you might need to spend some time exploring your education options and the kinds of employment opportunities they may open up.

You know what you like

Do you like getting out in the garden with your mum or dad? Or like pulling apart an engine and then putting all the pieces back together again? Do you love watching travel shows on TV and dream of going to faraway places? Are you fascinated by beetles or ancient cultures? Are you better at chemistry than sport – or is it the other way around? Do you dream about finding gold in the outback?
You get the picture. A career should be enjoyable.
Think about your favourite school subjects and why you like them. If, for instance, you love your biology class but fall asleep in English, it might be that you’re headed for a career in environmental science but can forget about writing the great Australian novel.

Grab the opportunity

Lots of students start university or TAFE (or CIT in ACT) with only a broad idea of what they want to achieve. It’s not until they really get into their studies that they develop a clear idea of what they want to concentrate on. Kerri enrolled in law because she was encouraged by one of her teachers who recognised how good she was at debating. ‘It wasn’t until I heard a visiting lecturer talking about human rights that I decided I wanted to work in that area of law,’ she says.
Fact: One in 10 first-year students plan to switch courses and one in 15 plan to change universities.
Australian Council for Education Research
Louise, who had qualified as a nurse, worked at a big manufacturing company as their industrial health nurse. It got her interested in the legal issues around workplace safety. So, in her late 30s, she started a law degree. Now she is an in-house employment law expert working for a government department.

Be realistic … and positive

There are some less obvious ways into the career you want. Mischa always wanted to be a doctor. But she didn’t have the ATAR score to get into medicine straight from school. So she did a science degree and applied again. This time she was accepted and she went on to become a successful surgeon.
Even if Mischa hadn't got accepted for medicine, she could still have pursued a career in the medical world. Hospitals and clinics also have nurses, paramedics, radiologists, pathologists, receptionists, administrators, physiotherapists, electricians, computer experts, psychologists and technicians. Like any industry, it involves a large range of skills and qualifications, some involving university study, and others requiring training at TAFE.
The point is to start by imagining your ideal career – and then explore all your options. There’s a job out there that’s perfect for you.
Fact: 78.2 per cent of VET graduates were employed after training in 2013.
National Centre for Vocational Education Research

Stretch yourself

There are lots of different ways to get to your goal, so don't sell yourself short. You might be eligible for a scholarship or there may be other considerations made with your application. Take a look at the Advice page in the Getting in section to see what your situation might mean for your application.
‘I undertook a four-year apprenticeship. But after a few years I realised my trade skills could only take me so far. I wanted to explore other alternatives so I enrolled in a university degree. The first year was overwhelming and I felt incredibly dumb. But hang in there … it gets easier.’
Ronald, 29, studying engineering

Work out how to make your mark

This website is all about showing you what's out there so you can find the right path towards your ideal future.
Your best option for now might be an apprenticeship, a gap year, a bachelor degree or some work experience. Take your time with all the options here as you might find something fits that you've never considered for yourself before.


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