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Going to Uni in WA – Mind Map for Year 12s

This map delivers links to information for Year 12s in Western Australia who want to go to uni in 2023. The links are to:

  1. Deciding what to do

  2. Logistics of getting there

  3. Money matters

  4. Career resources It collates In Focus Careers blog posts, resources and other mind maps for West Australian Year 12s who want to go to uni in 2023.

For more information and resources for West Australian students, subscribe to In Focus Careers News.

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Career Educators’ vital role in delivering stability to a bubble of disrupted middle school students

In January 2020 I was on holiday with my family at a BnB in Dunsborough. We were sitting on the deck overlooking the bush when we first heard about a virus in China that would go on to cause chaos in our lives. 

Dunsborough Holiday

My oldest grandkids were only 9 at the time and they were off in the bush building cubby houses. Their lives were about to be thrown into turmoil.

Middle School

There is now a bubble of middle school students who may not remember life before COVID. They will not know how middle school students used to engage with life beyond childhood.

We are still creating that “new normal”.

At the Career Teacher Master Class at Murdoch this year, Dr. Chad Morrison explained that:

  • we don’t yet know the impact of COVID on students
  • we do know that kids are going to school less and engaging differently
  • Low SES students were less ready to learn online (Sonnemann & Goss, 2020, p7)
  • There would be a greater impact of social shocks on households, particularly low SES households with insecure incomes.

My 11-year-old grandkids have now started high school in the most disrupted academic year ever experienced in WA. Teachers have been off work with COVID. Relief teachers have tried to cover the gaps. My grandkids have been off school, then got into trouble from relief teachers for not having completed work. 

I suspect that any middle school students who had minor social and mental health issues two years ago, will not have had opportunities to engage in activities that would have helped them to work through their issues at their own pace.

Life is tougher for middle school students in 2022. 

Solutions for Exhausted Teachers

Teachers are burnt out. They don’t have the energy to build a village that will support middle school students.

Promoting existing services is an easy step that can be taken. 

School Chaplains

If you have a wonderful school chaplain, help them to engage with your students.

Community Services

I got in touch with the Department of Communities. They said that:

  • District Offices refer troubled students to the Department’s mentoring program. 
  • EdConnect has around 2000 volunteers who work across schools. EdConnect was mentioned by a few people when I put out a request for information on Facebook and LinkedIn.

It takes a village to raise a child

As I am becoming more aware of the bubble of COVID affected middle school students I have written:

In this final post  I have a Mentor and Support Services map. I will continue to build that as people let me know of additional services which students can tap into to create their own village. 

These opportunities will help students to create their own village as they move into adulthood. Getting started is the toughest step. 

I will continue to look for ideas that will help them to make the transition. 

Please join the In Focus Careers community to engage with others who are working to support career development in schools in WA.

Subscribe to In Focus Careers monthly magazine for West Australian schools. 

Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers
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Any journey from childhood to adulthood is a long one. Would a mentor help?

If you tell a 14 year old to start working with a mentor, expect a negative reaction. 

As they emerge from the chrysalis of childhood, 14 year old’s want to be responsible for what they do themselves. They want to work towards the future with their peers.

They do not want to engage with an authority figure of YOUR choice. Friendships are never more important than in the vital mid teenage years. 

If you think kids would benefit from having a  mentor, you need to:

  • match the kid to the right mentor program, then
  • help those kids to be clear and enthusiastic about wanting a mentor. 

Sport Coaches

The idea of having a coach, rather than a mentor, might be more familiar to kids.

The coach and the team are all working towards a single purpose. 

Students who play sport could tell you that their coach:

  • has superior knowledge in their field
  • suggests ways that they can improve 
  • will offer words of encouragement
  • sets clear boundaries
  • can be trusted 
  • helps them to set clear goals

What motivates the coach?

Kids know WHY the coach is there, it could be their love of the game, maybe their kids play in the team, maybe they played for the team at one stage.

Kids don’t know WHY a mentor is there.

They will be asking:

  • why would a total stranger would want to get to know me?
  • what is the payoff for this stranger?
  • what is the purpose of the relationship?
  • is it safe?

When they are clear about all these things, then they need to learn that the mentor:

  • will be working with them towards an agreed purpose
  • has superior knowledge in their field
  • suggests ways that they can improve 
  • will offer words of encouragement
  • sets clear boundaries
  • can be trusted 
  • helps them to set clear goals

How are mentors different?

If you want a one on one approach to help you to identify and achieve goals, a designated mentor could be your answer. A mentor will provide guidance and support, just to you.

Establishing trusted one on one relationships is more difficult with a mentor than with a coach as part of a team. You will need to work harder to establish a relationship with a mentor.

There are lots of mentor services in Perth. Many have a specific focus.

Here are some of them.

I will build on this map as people let me know about more mentoring services in WA.

You can choose different mentors for different purposes.


No-one seems to be focusing on the significant long term impacts of COVID that middle school students experienced just as they were leaving the comfort of childhood. 

I hope that by providing an environment, rich in ideas and opportunities, middle school students will be able to progress through a scaffolded approach to adulthood. It will take conscious and deliberate effort to engage…. if they are to arrive as confused, disoriented and bewildered as the rest of us.bewilder



In the Boredom Breakers blog which I wrote last week, I provide a range of opportunities that young people could choose to explore as they move along the long path from childhood to adulthood . All of those suggestions have a leader who will be a bit like a sport coach. 

To keep up to speed with career opportunities emerging in Western Australia, subscribe to In Focus Careers News

Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers
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Year 9 Boredom Breakers

Year 9 is always a tough year 

Just as Year 9s were starting to grow out of the things they loved doing as little kids, COVID hit.  There is a fair chance Year 9s are bored but not aware of opportunities that are on the table. 

We don’t know the impact of COVID Year 9s

  • Some may be bunkering down and need more encouragement to approach new ideas.
  • Some may be looking to take control and make choices about ideas to explore.

If they don’t know it, they can’t do it

Here is a range of opportunities that may spark an interest and which Year 9s can investigate. 

Go to the Mind Map to find links to information about all of these ideas. 

Year 9 School Exploring

Ask Career Advisors and Student Services at School

If you want to know more about any of these opportunities, school based career advisors, student services officers and year coordinators will be able to help.

Some highlights that you may not know about

Duke of Edinburgh

Duke of Edinburgh
Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Age: 14 – 24 There are 4 sections:

1.      Adventurous Journey

2.      Physical Recreation

3.       SkillsVoluntary Service

4.       Gold Residential Project



Coding for Fun

Ages 7 – 17

Run by volunteers in libraries, unis and community centres. Young people and volunteers get together to learn to play with coding.

WAAPA Short Courses


Age 6 – 18

Acting, music and dance short courses are run on weekends and holidays.  There are classes for young kids through to those who already have some experience.

Local Government Youth Programs

Government Youth Programs

Every local government council has youth programs. Check out your local government to see what it has on offer.



Age: 12 – 19

Fun with Robots

Teams make and program robots and compete in different challenges. 

Find all the career information you need for West Australian school students





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Leaving School Early IS AN OPTION

If you hate school, leaving IS AN OPTION. There is no point hanging around at school if you hate it.

Leave School Early

If you are worried that you won’t ever get into uni, you need to know that only 26% of uni students go straight there via the ATAR pathway.  Most university students get there through some other pathway.

If you are worried that you won’t ever get a well paid job, you need to find out about modern trends in lifelong learning and careers.

Good things about leaving school

Happiness is leaving school


  • You will feel better.

  • You will make new friends.

  • You will discover new things to enjoy.

Don’t jump too quickly

Don’t wait until you are ready to leave to start preparing. (If you are in Year 9 see the tips below.)

As soon as you start thinking of leaving school, talk to a career advisor. They  can help you to:

  • Do career quizzes and narrow down the jobs you would like.
  • Explore different jobs through VET courses and work experience.
  • Develop your work readiness and job application skills through part-time work and volunteering
  • Link you with appropriate support services that can support you as you leave school.

If you don’t have a school career advisor, go to a Jobs and Skills Centre for free career advice.

If you live in the Wanneroo or Armadale areas, engage with the Industry Training Hub. 

Each Training Hub is managed by a full-time Career Facilitator, providing an on-the-ground presence while delivering Training Hub services.

Career Facilitators work with and encourage young people to build skills and choose occupations in demand in their region, creating better linkages between schools and local industry, repositioning vocational education and training as a first-choice option. 

They mainly focus on year 11 and 12s but if you are in Year 10 you may be able to engage with their services. 

How to leave school

  • Arrange a full-time job, enrol in a full-time course or organise a combination of both. 
  • Get your parents to fill out and sign a Notice of Arrangement which details what you will do if you get permission to leave school.

The Notice of Arrangement is forwarded by your school to the Minister for Education for consideration. 

You will be informed of the Minister’s decision. It won’t be a straight “no”. You will either have your application approved, or you will be told what extra things you need to do in order to get approval. 

How old do I have to be to leave school?

In Western Australia you must stay at school until you finish Year 10, then you can get special permission to leave school before you finish Year 12 if you have:

                  1. a full time job or
                  2. full time study

Or a combination of both.

  1. Job

In most cases you need to be 15 to be employed or 13 to work in a fast food outlet. (There are exceptions to this. You can see details of the exceptions HERE.)

Tell people you want a job.

You can get a job through family and friends, through volunteering and impressing employers, through work experience and through part time work. 

2. Study

    • No OLNA or English Qualification?:

There are foundation and introductory courses at TAFE that do not have any English or maths requirements. You can be accepted into some of these courses while you are still of school age.

Go to a Jobs and Skills Centre for information about the courses that are available and which course would be best for you.

    • Year 11 or 12:

If you are okay academically but don’t want to go to school, go to a Jobs and Skills Centre and do an aptitude test, talk to a counsellor and get advice about your study options. 

3. Work and Study

If you get an apprenticeship or traineeship you will be doing on the job and off the job training.

You may be able to start studying a part time VET course now, and combine your study with a part time job. 

Common pathways from school

You can end up ahead of your friends who complete their WACE if you start a VET course early. You can do a Certificate II in Health Support Services and follow through with higher studies in the health sector.


Common pathway from school

You can’t go wrong with qualifications in computing, particularly if you have a detailed, problem solving brain.


Middle School

If you are in Middle School and you are hating school:

  • Talk with your friends about what to do
  • Check with a career counsellor 
  • If you care for a family member, get support from Young-Carers
  • Go to your closest Jobs and Skills Centre to find out about alternatives to school in your area. They have information about courses and about jobs.

Year 9

The new Career Taster Program in WA schools gives Year 9s the chance to learn about opportunities after school. Through the Taster Program you will meet workers who will tell you about what their work involves. 

Through your contacts you may get additional volunteer experience, or a part time job. 

Summing Up

If you want to leave school early, don’t just jump. There are people and services around to help you to smooth your path into a life that you find much more fun than school.

  • Start to check out possible jobs. 
  • Investigate some of the services about in the mind map.
  • Start to talk to people who will help you to start your new life.

Good luck with your new adventures. 

Discover More

There are outstanding teachers in all disciplines in Western Australia, but great teaching doesn’t lead students to make great career choices.  Career Educators are the light on the hill that students and families need. 

Subscribe to In Focus Careers 

Keep up to date with the latest career opportunities in Western Australia.

Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers

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In Focus Careers June Issue: Connecting you to trends, people and ideas for the future

The latest edition of In Focus Careers News is out. 

  • The Science Grants have been announced. The sponsored events will be happening across Western Australia in August 
  • JEDI and NERO are new.  The names are absurd strangulations of English. But you will remember them, and they deliver cool, easy to use career data.
  • There is lots of information this month about getting into medicine this month. 
  • The public sector traineeships are open.

To find out more about career opportunities in WA, subscribe to In Focus Careers News for West Australian high school students

Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers

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Year 12: Becoming clear on what to do next year.

If you are in Year 12, you need to decide where you want to belong when you leave school. 

Most of us don’t remember our dreams. Your dreams, or even your vague ideas will come in a whisper, not in a shout. Here are some tips on how to listen to your heart.

Tip 1:

Take the best stuff from your life now into your new life when you leave school.

Career ideas don’t come fully formed. This simple trick will help you to see some possibilities. 

Make a list of the things you do in a day. This list provides you with the raw material that you need to decide where you want to belong.

  • Get up
  • Have breakfast
  • Bus to school.
  • Maths
  • English
  • etc

Expand your list by adding what you do on a weekend or on holidays or things you liked when you were younger.

  • Play basketball
  • Go to the beach
  • Customer service at Brumby’s

When you have finished your list, highlight the things you like doing most. Check out those things and use them to guide your decisions about where you want to belong next. 

Ideas are most at risk when they are vague and new. 

Ideas need pampering or they will fade away.

Talk to your career advisor to get ideas about how you can do more of what you like doing most. 

You can also check out how to do more of what you like through a free appointment with a careers counsellor at a Jobs and Skills Centre. 

For more information go to Get on track to uni in WA 2023 or .Year 10 Magic Happens: Careers Handbook

Tip 2:

It is tricky to be clear about what is important to you 

For Donald Trump money and power are important.

For the Wiggles it is entertaining little kids.

You can figure out what is important to you through this game:

  • Write a list of 8 people who you like. They don’t even have to be real people. Your dog could be on the list.
  • Once you have finished your list write three things that you like about each person.

If you included your dog you might have:

MIssy – Friendly, fun, understanding.

You will have 24 different things that you like.

Group together similar things. The things that appear most are those things that are most important to you. 

Let those things guide your decisions about where you want to go next.

If making money and having power is important to you, you won’t want to go to care for orphans in Cambodia.

If entertaining little kids is important to you, you might check out early childhood education. That is where the original Wiggles started. 

For more information go to Get on track to uni in WA 2023 or .Year 10 Magic Happens: Careers Handbook

In Summary

From little things big things grow. 

Start by listening to what you like now. From those ideas you can grow your future.

Check to see if those thing sounds true to your values. 

Stand on the shoulders of giants. Ask older people for information. Ask what they did. We all want you to succeed. 

Get on track to uni in WA 2023                                   Year 10 Magic Happens Careers Handbook

Get on track to uni in WA 2023

To discover career opportunities in Western Australia, subscribe to In Focus Careers News

In Focus Careers News

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Ideas from West Australian career educators

After the most COVID disrupted term we have had in WA, career educators have bounced back. They are standing on the shoulders of West Australian giants in career education to deliver world class career experiences to our students. 

Here are some examples from the last few weeks. 

Construction Futures Centre

Last month Kathy Moore, from Swan View SHS, organised for career educators to go  to the Construction Futures Centre in Belmont to check out the career education resources that are available to schools.No alternative text description for this image

Twenty eight career practitioners turned up and played their way through the simulation games that can be booked for school groups. You can book a tour for yourself or for a school group HERE. 

Youth Innovation Think Tank

Kim Flintoff, from Peter Carnley Anglican Community School, is building on the work of the East Metropolitan Health Service which delivers the Youth Innovation Think Tank for West Australian high schools. 

No alternative text description for this image

You can find earlier examples of problems addressed by schools HERE.

Year 9 MyCareerRules

Brett Neasham, from Governor Stirling SHS, recently ran a career conversations session for Year 9 students. The  MyCareerRules session with ABCN and Bankwest was a great introduction to careers with mentors giving  thoughtful, honest insights and reflections on their career journeys.

ABCN and Bankwest at Governor Stirling

Defence Force Presentation. 

Kathy Moore, from Swan View SHS, had Defence Force Recruiting come to school to give a presentation to Year 11 & 12 students. 

No alternative text description for this image

For more career opportunities for your students, subscribe to the monthly In Focus Careers News for West Australians 

Subscribe to In Focus Careers News

Pathways from High School powerpoint presentation   Get on track to uni in WA for 2023   Study Coach 

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So you want to be a doctor? May is important for 2023 applicants.

Medicine student

Notre Dame has its Getting Into Medicine information session on 3 May at 5.30 West Australian Time. Curtin has their information session on 9th May.

People who want to get into medicine in 2023 need to attend medicine information sessions to hear of course application procedures and they need to complete their UCAT applications

Notre Dame and Curtin Uni Medicine Information Sessions

Notre Dame, Curtin and UWA run medicine courses in WA. 

If you missed the Curtin information you can find the video HERE. 

If you missed the Notre Dame information session, search “Notre Dame Medical Student information videos” for a suite of helpful videos. 

UWA has not planned an information session. You can find information about medicine at UWA HERE. 

Medicine student

UCAT Applications Close Soon

To get into medicine you have to score well on a University Clinical Admission Test (UCAT)

Students undertake the UCAT at a time they can choose between 1 July to 12 August. 

There is a fee to undertake the UCAT. Concessions close on 10 May.  

Applications close on 17th May.


UCAT Applications Close

Late bookings for UCAT

The late booking deadline is 31st May.

To see all dates go HERE. 

There is a bank of tests that students should do to prepare for the test.

UCAT recommends:

you start by viewing the Preparation Advice and Resources before moving onto the Question Banks and Practice Tests and the Test Tools.  

Training organisations that are not associated with UCAT offer additional training. UCAT has this to say about those organisations:

Commercial organisations will be using questions that are not necessarily of the standard you will encounter in the UCAT and this may distort your performance whilst practising. Screen views may be different and commercial organisations are unlikely to include the new question types, which you may encounter in your test. They may also not replicate the UCAT scoring and banding accurately and may give misleading indicators of your anticipated UCAT score.

Good luck to all of you who aim to get into medicine. 

Subscribe to In Focus Careers News to discover trends, career ideas and opportunities for the future for West Australians

In Focus Careers News

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Are you going to uni next year? Find out where, what, when and who you want to meet.

You can use the skills you developed when coming to high school to guide your transition from high school to uni.

12 year old girls

Tip 1: Where

Online Study V On Campus 

Get your student number and connection to the internet sorted. You will be given instructions about how to do this around Christmas time with the offer that comes after the final TISC results come out.

If face to face classes are available on campus, go to them. Uni is so much more than curated information about different subjects.

Lecture theatre

On Campus Accommodation

If you CAN stay on campus, do that.

We want students to stay at the on campus accommodation, whether they are from South East Asia or South Perth.

Professor Harlene Hayne, Vice Chancellor Curtin University

St Catherine's College, Curtin

St Catherine’s College Curtin

There are people employed by residential colleges who have knowledge, networks and power to create an amazing university life for you. You will make friends for life, get help with study and create networks that will lead to jobs. 

$$$$$$$$: Check accommodation scholarships HERE.

Public Transport

If you will be taking public transport to uni, figure out the best route and timetable and find out how to get your SmartRider ticket.

Tertiary SmartRider



Not being able to find parking when you are under pressure can break you.

Get your parking stickers/app during the holidays. Find where you can park and where to find parking during peak hours. Try to find free parking, although most good free spots will be taken by students who have been at uni for a while. D7 at Curtin Bentley — StudentVIP

Campus Layout

Go to movies, food van markets, play sport or join clubs on campus. Each baby step you make to become familiar with your uni will make your transition easier.

Walk around the campus. If you are doing engineering, go to the engineering building. Check out the room and lab locations. Find the library.

Whatever course you are doing, find your buildings and know where your classes will be held BEFORE Orientation Week.

Tip 2: What Subjects

If you aren’t certain which subjects to take,  do a uni prep course – its free and it will help you to make better subject choices. You will be able to go to the same campus as your friends who are leaping into their degree straight away, and you will learn enough to be clear about what course you want to do before you start your degree. 

  • About 30% of students change courses as they find out more about their degree. This is an expensive path to take. Each subject/ unit at university will cost around $2000. You can check how much each unit will cost on the UWA Fee Calculator.
  • Only 26% of university students go straight there from school on their ATAR results. Consider taking a gap year before you go to uni. You will expand your world and get clearer about what you want to do next. Check out Gap Year Ideas 
  • If you are worried that you won’t ever start to study again if you stop studying after Year 12, go to uni and choose broad subjects that allow you to specialise later, when you know more about the course or working in that industry.
  • In response to COVID disruption ALL universities in Western Australia have significantly increased the amount of support that is available to future students. Use the free career advice that is available at every university.

Tip 3: When – Timetable

Lectures, tutorials and workshops will be scheduled throughout the week. You choose your timetable.Your school timetable is a good model to follow when choosing your class times.

Treat uni like school. Organise your timetable so that you go to uni every day. Don’t be tempted to pack your scheduled times into a few days and just go during scheduled times. Spend your “free time” doing your research and assignments. 

If you treat uni as a job, with a 40 hour week and some good study planning you are on a good path to success. Schedule breaks where you meet your friends and where you play sport or engage in club activities. A mix of work and play is what you need to have a great time at uni. 

Tip 4: Friends

The friends you make at uni can stay with you for your entire life. 

There will be so many people to choose from. If you go to Curtin, there will be about 50,000 people to choose from. If you go to Notre Dame in Fremantle, which is our smallest uni,  you will have about 6,000 to choose from. 

If you pick clubs or sports or volunteer activities from the amazing choice that is available, you will find friends there who have the same interests as you. You can join clubs during Orientation Week. 

If you arrange to stay at university accommodation you will meet lots of new people there. 

So just 4 Tips

  1. Decide what uni to go to and how to get there.
  2. Decide what to study, or at least choose a path that will help you to decide. 
  3. Look at timetables for this year. The chances are that they won’t change much next year. You will be able to draft your study timetable  before Orientation Week. 
  4. Look forward to meeting a bunch of new, wonderful people who like doing the same things that you do. 

Get clear, unbiased career information for West Australian school students and educators.

Subscribe to In Focus Careers News. 

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Pathways from High School Video Presentation for Senior Students
Get on track to uni in WA 2023