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What is a Skills Passport and why do you need one?

A Skills Passport is an online record of all your qualifications and skills.

The government is about to initiate consultations with employer groups, unions and educators aimed at identifying the advantages of creating a National Skills Passport. This initiative would consolidate all your qualifications and skills into a single, user-friendly database.

You need one because..

  • It might significantly ease your transition from one employer to another.
  • Many people may not realize that completing certain courses, such as a White Card or a barista course during school, actually grants them formal qualifications.
  • It’s possible to inadvertently overlook a job opportunity if you forget about a customer service qualification earned during your initial employment at McDonald’s or Bunnings.
  • As you progress through life, continuous learning is inevitable. Without a comprehensive database to store your course history, it’s easy to forget what courses you completed a decade ago.

What does it do?

  • It consolidates all your qualifications into a single database.
  • It will be integrated with standardized criteria, ensuring that certifications from”Dodgy Brothers Training” are not seen as the same as those from TAFE colleges or universities.
  • The system will adhere to interoperability standards, guaranteeing that all qualifications are recorded using a uniform format, which will allow seamless sharing and compatibility.

Why I won’t use it…

  • I used to work with IT security specialists and I am cautious about sharing personal information.
  • Identify theft is easier when everything is in one place.
  • I don’t trust that the information would not be used for different purposes.
  • I can keep my own records of my qualifications.
  • If they let me know what standards and format they want in a database, I will create my own sharable database that I will manage.

Make up your own mind

If you are a teacher or career advisor, you may want to use it to make sure school leavers have a record of all qualifications they have achieved. In that case a Skills Passport may be a convenient solution.

There will probably be an opt out clause that will allow users to stop using the service.

I think a Skills Passport could be a cool solution to people not taking responsibility for keeping their own records.

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How is chatgtp going to change career education?

I asked chatgtp How is open AI going to change career education?

The Response: 

OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research lab that aims to promote and develop friendly AI in a way that benefits humanity as a whole. The potential uses for AI in career education are vast and varied, and could have a significant impact on how people learn and prepare for jobs. Here are a few examples of how OpenAI and similar technologies might change career education:

  1. Personalized Learning: AI systems can analyze data on an individual student’s learning style, interests, and progress, and then use that information to create personalized lesson plans and educational resources. This can help students learn more effectively and efficiently.
  2. Virtual Career Counseling: AI chatbots can simulate human-like conversations, providing students with personalized career counselling, answering students’ questions, and providing guidance on choosing the right career path, job search and interview preparation.
  3. Automated Content Generation: AI can be used to generate educational content, such as quizzes and practice problems, which can help to supplement and enhance existing curriculum.
  4. Intelligent Tutoring Systems: AI-powered systems can offer one-on-one tutoring, providing students with instant feedback and guidance as they work through problems and exercises.
  5. Automated Evaluations: AI can help automate the process of evaluating student work and providing feedback, freeing up teachers and professors to focus on other tasks.

These are just a few examples of how OpenAI and similar technologies might change career education. However, as with any new technology, it’s important to consider the possible ethical implications and ensure that it’s used in ways that are fair and equitable.

How can we keep up?

We need to work together and support each other as we create and unearth new ways to do our work. Please share your ideas so that we can all keep up with this. 

  • Over the past couple of weeks, Kim Flintoff from Learning Futures Network has been posting heaps about this on his LinkedIn and Facebook pages. 
  • I am sharing information on the CDAA WA LInkedIn page.
  • I have followed @herfteducator on Twitter as he is sharing some great ideas. 

If you know of any other ways that we can work together on this can you please share them with us?

Subscribe to In Focus Careers News for West Australian high schools

Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers

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Chat GTP will allow you to focus on more professional, higher level career advice

Chat GTP is so easy to use that it will revolutionise career education.

By providing some basic information and asking “what careers can I do?” you will get a specific answer that guides further explorations. 

Try it

Get a ChatGTP account. Give it some basic information.

I tried this example:

  • I am a school student
  • I want to help people
  • I love sport
  • I live in Western Australia

and added “what careers can I do?”

It gave me these suggestions:

  • Sports coach: You could become a coach for a sports team or organization and help athletes improve their skills and reach their goals.
  • Physical therapist: If you are interested in healthcare, you could become a physical therapist and help people recover from injuries or conditions that affect their movement.
  • Athletic trainer: As an athletic trainer, you would work with athletes to prevent and treat injuries, and help them stay in top physical condition.
  • Sports broadcaster: If you have a talent for communication, you could become a sports broadcaster and share your knowledge and passion for sports with a wider audience.
  • Sports journalist: As a sports journalist, you could report on the latest developments in the world of sports and share your insights with readers.

It isn’t a perfect list but it is information that provides a great start for further exploration using something sophisticated like MyFuture  or the judgement and guidance as a career professional.

Why you need to use Chat GTP

Chat GTP is going to change our world. It will give us time to make career education student-centric for ALL of our students. We will be able to focus on providing higher level, professional support and advice. 

Keep ahead of the AI wave and learn as much as you can this year so that you can be a leader in how AI can change our industry. Share your ideas on LinkedIn or Facebook so that we all support each other. 

Subscribe to In Focus Careers 

Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers


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Work smarter ideas to kick start your 2023 school career program

Career educators are doing their planning for 2023. These ideas may help as you draft your schedule around exams, and other school priorities while balancing your workload. 

University Opportunities

West Australian Universities are getting more competitive in their efforts to engage with schools.

It is easiest to engage with the university that is closest to your school.  Undergraduate degrees are pretty similar across universities so it may be the most successful strategy to get the university closest to you and get them to negotiate a career support strategy for the year.


  • Career Advisor Visits – University career advisors will come to your school expos and will give presentations to year groups. You can book them in now for 2023.
  • Subject experts – Subject experts will come and deliver customised classes to large groups. Murdoch runs seminars, like STEM, creative arts and HASS workshops. You can book them now. 
  • Mentors – Uni students who are building their leadership experience can be matched as mentors for students at your school. You can ask your year 11 and 12s if they are interested and ask your local uni if they will do this in 2023. 
  • Career Cafe – Uni students can be provided by unis faculties. They are stationed at a table and give 15-minute briefings to students and their family members at a Career Cafe. You can schedule this for 2023.
  • Uni-based events: All unis have open days, information evenings, A Day as a Uni Student, Portfolio Application, and campus tour events. They are posted on the uni sites. Give the information to your senior students and ATAR teachers. Make time to put this information into staff notices, senior school notices and information that you send to parents. 

VET Opportunities

VET delivered in secondary schools

This useful tool provides schools with prompts and questions to help research and choose suitable RTOs to enter into auspicing arrangements with to deliver VET qualifications to their students.

Year 9 Taster Program

This was the big initiative for 2022.  Many schools have found the benefit of showing Year 9s how their study has practical applicability in the workplace.

Year 9 is the perfect time to introduce students to the world of work and to help them to expand their worldviews. Read about what others are doing at the Year 9 Taster Program HERE. 

Year 9 Career Taster program grants can support your priorities. 

Building Trades

  • Construction Futures Centre You can’t go past the Construction Futures Centre for state-of-the-art career experiences. You can book an excursion online for students at any level. They have open days scheduled throughout the year. 
  • Brick and Block Careers You can have a school-based Brick and Block trade try-a-trade or go to a special training centre to learn more about this high-paid career. 
  • If you have ideas or if you are looking for ideas about specific building trades get more information from the Construction Futures Centre

Agriculture Careers

  • Muresk Take the kids on a tour of Muresk. It is always good to go in spring to see the lambs and calves and the canola blooming. If you are interested in any particular pathway, tell them what you are interested in when you are booking so that they can get industry experts to talk to your school group. 

Jobs and Skills Centres

Jobs and Skills Centres will provide information about any career path in vocational or university courses. Some specialise in helping migrants or Aboriginal students. They provide career tests, help with resumes and interview skills and know about work opportunities. 

Opportunities with Industry

Work in partnership with one of the organisations that have been set up to help schools.

The KIC Education Development Program (EDP) was created to improve this understanding, and to create pathways for the students in the region’s high schools to enter the industrial workforce.

  • Industry Training Hub Armadale
  • Industry Training Hub Wanneroo
  • Rotary Find your local Rotary Club and ask them for guest speakers, tours of businesses, work experience and mock interviews. 
  • Industry Training Councils  Every industry is represented by one of the eight Industry Training Councils. If you can’t find an expert to advise a student on an industry, ring a training council for information. 
  • ASK: Just ask for support. I have never found an industry unwilling to help a school student to find a career path. If you don’t know who to call email me and I will ask the In Focus Careers network for help. 

School Community

Start with easy supporters. 

  • School alumni – Former students are passionate about helping kids at their school. Don’t just go for people who have already started their own businesses, or succeeded in their careers. Students who have dropped out of TAFE or uni, students who have left apprenticeships, and students who are at uni and doing well, all provide real stories that your students can relate to. 
  • Canteen workers and P&C volunteers. Ask those who are already engaged with the school through the P&C, canteen or sports or spiritual endeavours to support your careers program.  

Work Experience

A great work experience coordinator will have a pool of precious employers who they support and nurture for ongoing work experience opportunities. They coach, beg and threaten students to ensure they appreciate those employers!! They publicly thank the employers for their support. 

If you don’t have a pool of employer supporters, contact your school community and industry contacts (above) for help. 

Annual Career Planner


I put out the draft 2023 Career Planner with the last In Focus Careers Newsletter for 2022. If you didn’t get it, let me know. 

An updated version will be sent out with the February issue of In Focus Careers News which will be waiting for you when you get back from your Christmas break. 


Subscribe to the only careers newsletter in Australia, designed to provide comprehensive monthly coverage of local trends, ideas and new approaches to the career challenges for school students.

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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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How I do career counselling – from my presentation in the Grad Cert tutorial this morning

How I do career counselling

This is the information that I gave in my Grad Cert talk. 

I use a double-diamond strategy when I do career counselling.

My one-on-one sessions last over two hours with a break in the middle. 


The “problem” doesn’t have to be specific. You can start with a general notion about “what to do next”.

Part 1 Counselling (a bit over an hour)

The first part of my session is counselling. 

  1. I ask about their favourite subjects and results. I write it down on paper. I don’t use a computer during the session.
  2. The client identifies a few significant people in their network, parents, aunts and uncles, family friends, and what they do. If a student comes from a family of musicians they are more likely to be a musician. If the family owns a building business, they might choose to be a tradie, engineer or architect. 
  3. We then get down to identifying values. Use your favourite tools. It is essential that you unearth what is important to the client. I use coloured pens and fluro coloured paper and do the activities that I outline in the Year 10 Magic Happens Handbook. There are lots of tools around. Find what works for you. 

Based on all this information, we then narrow it down so that we can define the problem more specifically.

For example:

To find a path out of school that is helping people, that allows me to do my sport, where I can use social media communications.


4. We go for a walk. We will be tired, the counselling is draining. 

Everything about counselling must be about trust so there is no contrived agenda during the walk. We just relax, but often the client will reveal information that helps me to identify solutions. 

Part 2. Career Knowledge (a bit under 1 hour)

5. This part is easier. It is a discussion about opportunities generated from my knowledge of courses, employment and networks that could support the overarching goal. This is the information that I deliver every month through In Focus Careers News. 

We then narrow down the opportunities to a specific goal: 

To find a social media course that would help me to work in the disabled sport industry. 

At the end of the session, I undertake to get their personal career plan to them that day. They commit to doing at least two of the actions within a few days. 

Part 3. Personal Career Plan

  • As soon as the client leaves I write up a project plan with 3 separate goals and 3 or 4 associated actions that work towards each goal.  This is usually 4  pages long. 
  • I send that to the client. They are asked to email back the 2 actions that they will undertake this week. They can contact me any time. Many do as they are motivated and happy to be getting somewhere.
  • I contact them after a week. Sometimes further actions change based on the information they have learned.  
  • I continue to encourage and support and nag and deliver suggestions until the client achieves a direction that they are happy with. 

Hope that helps.

Subscribe to In Focus Careers to discover new opportunities for the career challenges of today and tomorrow. 

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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 

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

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Career Educators are the Light on the Hill – with examples

Being a career educator is the best job in the world.

The expert knowledge and guidance of career practitioners is powerful.

We make a difference. 

251 Maslow Pyramid Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

If you are a fan of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs  you can happily map your potential impact on the ladder to self actualization for your students. 

That’s the amazing, satisfying, powerful job satisfaction that we get.

We know our Why.

We know how important our work is as ride the tsunami of emerging pathways from school.

We are the trailblazers.

Changing how we think about change | by Ash Buchanan | Benefit Mindset | Medium

As with all trailblazers, we have work to do until people see our role as illuminators for the future. We need to work to be the light on the hill, to quote one of Australia’s greatest Prime Ministers, Ben Chifley.

The light on the hill - Wikipedia

We have a great objective – the light on the hill – which we aim to reach by working the betterment of mankind not only here but anywhere we may give a helping hand. If it were not for that, the  Labor movement would not be worth fighting for.

Wikipedia Ben Chifley

There are outstanding practitioners in Western Australia who believe the Career Education movement is worth fighting for. They are the light on the hill. 

They are trailblazers of world best practice who apply sound research findings to their day to day work as career educators across government, Catholic and independent schools.

Three of the many trailblazing West Australian examples are:


Co-Founders IDEA

The Innovation Design Entrepreneurship Academy was founded by Rebecca Loftus and Nicole Gazey who say:

It’s not just a different model. It’s a different culture. 

You can check out what they are creating at IDEA HERE.

The Studio School 

Another example that has stepped outside the existing system to forge a new way of operating is The Studio School which opened this year under the umbrella of All Saint’s College. All Saint’s already had a substantial enrichment programme. 

The Studio School

The Studio School is creating a learning ecosystem that extends beyond traditional school parameters. 

You can check out what they are doing HERE. 

Cyril Jackson’s Partnership Model

An early trailblazer was Cyril Jackson’s Partnership Model.

Cyril Jackson partnership model

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. 

I will identify more great models of great career education in a new section in my newsletter called Career Educators In Focus

Subscribe to In Focus Careers News

Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers