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Don’t get on the uni bus unless you know where it’s going

At a recent university seminar for career practitioners, one speaker complained about West Australian school leavers not going to uni. 

No wonder they aren’t going.

  • There is such a critical skills shortage happening that employers are ringing schools asking if there are any suitable students for great jobs with career prospects. Students can walk out of school and straight into a job with an okay salary.
  • The State Government has been pouring money into vocational education and training. There is a bigger variety of courses, they are cheap or free and many give credits to uni degrees.
  • Uni courses are expensive.

Why would you go to uni?

Those who are not sure what uni to go to, or what they want to study, still get onto the uni bus because:

  • Their friends are going to uni and they don’t want to be left behind.
  • The uni bus came for them while they were at school so they bought a ticket.
  • Their parents told them to get on the bus.
  • Teachers knew about the uni bus and talked about their experiences in a positive way.

Just because the university bus is ready to pick you up from school, doesn’t mean that you have to get on.   Maybe you want to get on the backpacker bus. Or the Harvest Trail bus. Or the VET bus. Or the job bus. 

Very few students are 100% sure of the university course that they want to take. About 30% realize that the course they are studying is not the right one for them, and they change direction. Others drop out altogether and end up feeling like they have failed. 

Check out Leaving  Year 12? These gap year ideas may interest you

If you are not sure what to do at uni, DON’T GET ON THE BUS.

The uni bus fare is expensive

Buying a uni course is not like buying a car. You can’t sell your used course to the next buyer who comes along.

  • If you get off the bus before you get to the destination YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY. 
  • If you fail, YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY.
  • If you change courses, YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY for the part of the course you used before you changed direction.

You can estimate how much your degree is going to cost you by using the UWA fees calculator 

Defer uni for a year

If you are not sure what course you want to do, you can still apply for a place at uni and, once you get offered a place, defer taking it up for a year.  

After working for a year you will have a clearer idea about which units to enrol in.

Check out the ideas in Going to Uni in WA – Mind Map for Year 12

Vocational Courses

Vocational Education and Training has been the winner in the post-school revolution in Western Australia.  In an effort to support industry, the West Australian government has been introducing short courses, skills sets, and employer subsidies. Industry has been partnering with training providers to deliver skills on the worksite.  There are hundreds of courses available. If you are unsure what course you might like to do or how to enrol find a Jobs and Skills Centre  near you for careers guidance. It’s free. They can tell you what courses will give you credits at uni. 

You HAVE to do post-school learning

You can’t just leave school and never study again.  Okay, you can, but poverty could be your lifelong friend.

  • People who have post-school qualifications earn more money and have more life choices.
  • The world isn’t going to stop changing just because you aren’t learning new skills.

You need to keep up with changes in the world of work either by learning on the job, or online or in a classroom. Getting tickets, qualifications, and recognition for your learning will help you to have choices and steer your career in different directions. The skills you gain may even get you credits in some units at uni. 

Take Your Time

More haste less speed is an old saying.

It means, don’t rush into things. 

If you are not sure what direction to take, slow down and look around. There are many directions to take as you leave school. Uni is just one of them. 

To keep up to date with career news for West Australians, subscribe to In Focus Careers

Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers

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