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Make 2023 brilliant for career practitioners in WA schools

This has been an amazing year for career practice in Western Australia. 

We have:

  • 70 new career positions in government schools and many non-government schools are advertising for career practitioners.
  • The Year 9 Career Taster Program
  • The Career Connect Conference
  • A booming Career Development Association 
  • More industry support for career development.

Check out details on how far we have come at  WA Career Education was a Tipping Point Year in 2022

In 2023 we need to consolidate the role of career practitioners so that they become a permanent robust force that delivers guidance, hope and optimism to West Australians. Try these three practical steps to make 2023 brilliant. 

Step 1: Avoid Stress, Fatigue and Burnout. Take these steps

COVID isn’t going to disappear and teacher shortages are going to get worse in 2023. Here are some practical steps to fix your workplace.

In July the WA government released a new Code of Practice for Psychosocial Hazards under the OH&S legislation that says workplaces can’t continue to make you stressed, fatigued and burnt out. It covers things like:

  • Inadequate support
  • Lack of role clarity
  • Poor change management
  • Poor or no policies and procedures

In August the government introduced a Code for Dealing with Violence and Aggression at Work which specifically identifies lecturers, teachers and teacher aides as being vulnerable targets for this sort of behaviour from students. It also identifies strategies for making your workplace better.

Practical Action 

The Code of Practice for Psychosocial Hazards in the Workplace identifies strategies for making your workplace better. 

  • Put it on the agenda at staff meetings.
  • Give a copy to your School Well-Being Committee
  • Give a copy to your school executive
  • Ask for progress reports.

Step 2: Look after your professional career

2.1 Professional Development for Career Practice

You need to consolidate your knowledge and skills as a career practitioner by going to the:

  • events put on by unis for career practitioners 
  • opportunities provided by your employers (Department of ED, AISWA and CEAWA)
  • CDAA face-to-face and online events for career practitioners
  • Careers and Skills Expos

Practical Action

Get in early. Make sure your boss understands that knowledge of opportunities emerging outside the school is critical to your work. Book early if professional opportunities require time out of school. 


2.2 Professional Development for YOUR Career

There is no career path for career practitioners within schools.  After a few years, you will be able to take your professional knowledge and skills into new roles.

You need to look to where you want to be next, check out what you need for those jobs and start building those skills. 

Practical Action

  • Promotion with Existing Employer: If you want to get a promotion with your current employer, identify what role you would like, and what skills you require and start demonstrating leadership against those skills so that you will be chosen for acting roles. 
  • Changing Sectors within Education: If you want to move to a university or a Jobs and Skills Centre role, find available jobs and what skills you need. Start attending career development breakfasts in your area or online, and get known by practitioners from other sectors. 
  • Working for Industry: If you want to move into an industry, check which industry you want to move into, and find possible jobs and job descriptions. Start developing your industry-specific skills and building relationships with people in those industries. Start attending career development breakfasts in your area or online, and get known by practitioners from other industries. 
  • Private Practice: If you want to start your own professional practice, start doing small business management courses

Step 3: Go for Awards, Competitions, Scholarships and Grants

We tell kids to go for awards, competitions and scholarships. We need to take our own advice.

  • Awards and Competitions: It feels great to get an award or win a competition. Being recognised for your work feels great and it looks good on job applications. I mention awards like Women in Leadership awards and teaching awards in the In Focus Careers News whenever I find them. Under the “Outreach Opportunities” heading you will find opportunities to enter your school in competitions like the RoboCup or Lego League. Just entering will boost your ranking when applying for jobs, winning is best of course!!


  • Scholarships: We tell kids to research scholarships all of the time but we don’t take our own advice. Opportunities, like the Churchill Fellowship, come up each year. Some are paid, and others required you to take LSL or leave without pay. They are great to win, you get to study something you love and you get to become more expert in our industry. 


  • Grants: You can usually get a project to happen by working 24/7. You will nearly kill yourself and once you leave the project will collapse without you driving it. If you work full-time, you will not have time to take on something new, unless you drop something that is not a priority. Finding resources to support a new project is the best way to go. Bendigo Bank is available to support lots of endeavours in schools. If you are in the bush, the Rabo Bank may support your work. Lots of grants get advertised through the Fremantle Grants Guru and your P&C will be eligible for grants to volunteer organisations from the Lotteries Commission. 

Practical Action

  1. Identify which award, competition, grant or scholarship you want to go for, based on your current priorities. 
  2. Let your boss know what you are doing and get their imprimatur. 
  3. Start work on your project plan. 

Together we can do great things in 2023

We are on a roll in WA.

We have made such amazing progress in 2022 but our work needs to be consolidated through conscious and deliberate action to build a robust career industry in WA. 

Together we can do great things in 2023

Subscribe to the only careers newsletter in Australia, designed to enlighten educators about local trends, ideas and new approaches to the career challenges for school students.


Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers

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