In Focus Careers

Help to Democratize Career Choices

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You know getting into medicine is tough. Imagine how tough it is getting into medicine from Australia North mapa school in NE Arnhemland.

That’s was one girl’s dream when I was Careers Advisor at Nhulunbuy High School.

Subject choices were limited at Nhulunbuy High School so she had to study some subjects via the Open Access College in Adelaide.

The closest university medical admissions test was in Darwin 1000 km away.

Her parents were missionaries so the cost of  just getting Mary (not her real name) to the test was prohibitive.

The community wasn’t powerful enough to sway exam administrators to let her take the test in Nhulunbuy, even under supervision from the local hospital registrar and the high school principal.

Everyone’s frustration heightened as it seemed impossible for Mary to even take the first step towards achieving her career dream.

Mary was facing some of the thousands of barriers that prevent students reaching their career potential. Students do not get an equal chance to take up their best career choice. There isn’t a level playing field for all students to launch from.

Mary got into medicine. It was a huge collaborative effort. The Open Access College and wonderful teachers at the school supported her to achieve outstanding results. Her parents turned to family and friends for help to get her to the test. Wesley College in Melbourne offered free accommodation. The Qantas agent said “Qantas doesn’t give free tickets” but got the best deal ever for her to fly to the test. Cairns hospital provided work experience for her on her trip home. Everyone worked together to help her to overcome the barriers to achieving her dream.

She must be in her final year of medicine by now.


You can help to level the playing field so that all students get a fair chance to reach their potential.

  • Share your worksheets with other teachers. Send them in and I will publish them on the Teaching Resources link. Alice Sounness from John Curtin College has already shared some of hers which are posted here.
  • Distribute the news in the In Focus Careers Newsletter to your students and families so that everyone has equal access to information about the latest developments and opportunities.IMG_4981
  • Tell me stories about how you have helped students to lift off their careers. I will share them in the newsletter and create a Success Folio which might inspire other students.
  • Say YES to opportunities to help each other so that all students get a fair chance to achieve their career potential.

By working together we can democratize career choices so that ALL West Australian students get the BEST chance to engage all of their potential in a job they love.

Please send careers worksheets, resources and stories to me at   or call me on M:0434056412.

Author: Bev Johnson

Hi I'm Bev. I write, speak and lobby about career opportunities for school students. I really care about kids leaving school. After 12 years of care and guidance the system pops them out the school gate to fend for themselves. My work aims to smooth the path from that gate so that ALL students know which way to go.

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