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Unlock the Potential of Career Education in just 10 Hours a Year.

Despite mountains of research showing the value of career education, career advisors struggle for resources, time and recognition.

Don’t try to face these challenges alone. In 10 hours per year, you can get the support of a dynamic group of local industry representatives who will transform how career education is recognised in the school.

This will be the group you go to for advice and support. They will be the first ones you go to for guest speakers, work experience, mentoring, expos and industry tours. They will have networks to support your goals.


Vet Nursing Advisory Board for South Metro TAFE

At one stage in my career at TAFE I was put in charge of Veterinary Nursing. I knew nothing about it so set up an industry advisory board with members from the Australian Veterinary Association, The Vet Surgeons Board, Vet Nurses, industry groups – from agriculture, racing and gaming and a student representative.

They delivered information, advice and support to the students and enhanced the work we did by aligning it more to industry needs. They provided industry connections for work experience, and recommended us to pet food companies that donated food for animals in our clinic.

Your Guide

Hour 1: Get the support of your principal

Put a pitch together about how an Industry Advisory Group will enhance the career education of students. The Principal may want to know details which I have put in “Hour 2”.

Hour 2: Thinking Time

Decide roughly who you want on the group:

  • Someone from a Jobs and Skills Centre
  • A member of the local Rotary Group (great for mock job interviews, work experience and mentors).
  • A member of the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
  • Someone from retail (Coles/Woolworths/ Bunnings/McDonalds)
  • Someone from an aged care facility.
  • You could try the Construction Futures Centre, or a trade group in your area.
  • Someone powerful who is willing to help – in my area we have Hofmann Engineering, they are a multinational company and they so generous with their time and support.

Decide how often you will meet. Probably twice a year for an hour.

Decide what will happen to their ideas. Maybe the minutes of the meetings are sent to the school management and school board and they will guide your work. Say you will report back on progress at each meeting.

Set a date and time for the meeting at the school. Book a room.

Hour 3 and 4: Busy Work

Ring people. Invite them to be a member of the (name of school) Industry Advisory Group that aims to build the capacity of career education within the school.

Follow up with an email invitation to the first meeting.

Hour 5: Hold the Meeting

Make sure you have tea and coffee and a biscuit for them.

You are a teacher. You KNOW how to facilitate a brilliant meeting.

You might want to:

  • Welcome and introduce the purpose of the group.
  • Do some brainstorming with the group through a SWOT analysis.
  • I like to analyse to SWOT to get ideas for how to Use each of the Strengths, Stop the Weaknesses, Exploit the Opportunities and Deny the Threats. That gives me a “to do list”.
  • Tell them you will write up the notes from the brainstorming and send them out to them.
  • Set a time for the next meeting.

Build relationships. Have a cup of tea/coffee and a talk.

Hour 6 – 7: Write up the notes and distribute

After the meeting write up what happened in a report send it to everyone.

Talk about it at staff meetings. Put it into your school newsletter. Let the District Office know. Let me know and I now and I will put it in the next In Focus Careers newsletter.

You will be able to call on your Group members to support any of the initiatives you want to launch at school.

Hour 8: After 6 months write a Progress Report

After 6 months write up a basic Progress Report for your next meeting and email it to everyone in the group.

Include the time and place for next meeting.

Hour 9: Prepare for Next Meeting

Book a room. Get tea and coffee. Prepare the agenda. Would your principal want to come?

Hour 10 Hold Next Meeting.

Report on and discuss progress and note further suggestions.

Repeat 3- 10 above for next year.

You are on your way

Your Industry Advisory Group will be your greatest asset. They provide work experience, mentors, guest speakers, expo displays and industry advice AND they can be a powerful voice that trailblazes the way for career education in your school.

It really is worth setting aside 10 hours per year to put in place infrastructure that will make your life easier.

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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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Can you wash up your coffee cup? The Generation Gap in the workplace

Have you asked a new graduate to wash their coffee cup?

Have you asked them to leave their classroom neat and ready for the next teacher?

According to some experienced teachers, asking this could risk complaints about bullying.

Work Readiness courses

There are currently 6% of Gen Zers in the paid employment and that per centage is growing, while baby boomers remain at around 20%. The generation gap between 20 year olds and 60 year olds is causing both young and old workers to resign.

Ten years ago “work preparation” courses taught uni graduates that they were not the bosses and to do the work as they were asked, without being “creative”.

Perhaps that would help, but it is not enough.

What can older workers do?

Older workers often think we know it all.

We don’t.

Dave Turner, career guru, from South Australia, says saying “hello” and asking about their weekend will make young workers feel more accepted.

He encourages employers to engage more with their local schools to:

  • gain a realistic idea of school students
  • prepare students for the workplace

Zoomers, our youngest employees

Danielle Kabilio, is building a reputation as an expert in this field.

She recently spoke on the topic to a Food Fibre and Timber Industry Training Council seminar for employees who are struggling to retain younger workers.

She is speaking on the topic at the CDAA Good Theory, Good Practice conference on 23 September. Teachers , private practitioners and HR experts are all interested in how to address the issue.

The stereotype is not the norm

The stereotype of the young kid playing on a mobile phone with poor communication skills is simply not the norm.

Kids may not be joining Lions of scouts any more but they are volunteering on environmental projects and coaching junior sports teams. There has never been more participation in competitions like It Takes a Spark and the Gamechanger Awards.

Stereotypes are not the whole answer. There are many steps that we need to take.

I’ll follow up

I will let you know what tips Danielle has to offer at the Good Theory Good Practice conference and I will put any research that I find into my In Focus Careers Newsletter.

In the meantime, say “Hi” to your colleagues and put your mobile phone away.

To keep up to speed with career opportunities in WA. Subscribe to In Focus Careers News.

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Leaving Year 12? There are adventures to be had. Try these Gap Year ideas

If you don’t want to go straight to uni or TAFE next year have fantastic opportunities for adventures and to meet interesting people in 2024 through these Gap Year ideas. 

Summer School Harvest Jobs with CBH

We have had so much rain that we are sure to have yet another bumper harvest and farmers will be scrambling for workers to help them bring in the crops.  CBH is recruiting for school leavers to work on the 2023 harvest.

The pay is $29/hour, there is training, free accommodation and a range of roles. Check details HERE.

Vacation Swimming Instructor Jobs

If you are 17 you can be a qualified swimming instructor. Check the qualifications you need HERE.

Check Jora for Swimming Instructor jobs across Western Australia

AgCareerStart / Agriculture Gap Year Program

If you’re 17-25, this unique gap-year program provides you with a paid job, training and development, not to mention the opportunity to build your networks within the agriculture industry.

You can indicate which farm type you’d prefer and where in Australia you would ideally like to go. Find details HERE.

Harvest Trail

The horticulture industry relies on people to pick their fruit and veggies. In the past the pay and conditions have been shocking, but the pandemic caused the industry to change work practices.

The Harvest Trail is a more regulated employment trail for nomads. 

Defence Force Gap Year

You can apply for a Defence Force Gap Year in the Airforce, Navy and Army.

There is a range of different job opportunities that you can apply for.

To be eligible to apply, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen aged between 18 and 24 on COMPLETION of military training. You’ll also need to have completed Year 12 (subject passes required vary by job) and have passed in Year 10 English and maths.

Applications for all roles are now open – and will close as positions are filled. Learn more HERE.

Army Reserves – part time defence jobs

If you want to do something different on a part time basis, you can apply to join the navy, army or air force reserves. There is a range of jobs you can do. 

Find out more HERE

Work Overseas with LetzLive

LetzLive has opened up its working holiday opportunities in the UK, Thailand, USA and New Zealand. 

Check out the programs provided by LetzLive.

Hospitality and Tourism Adventures in WA

Resorts and roadhouses are importing workers from the Pacific Islands in order to stay open. 

Look for these jobs on sites like Seek or phone/email the local tourist bureau and ask where to find a job in the area.

If you are 18 you can earn more money serving alcohol than cleaning or serving in a cafe. You will need your Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate to be able to work serving alcohol.

Work on a Station

Can’t ride a motor bike or muster cattle? Maybe you can make scones or serve coffee. 

Ellenbrae Station Scones

Most stations supplement their incomes through tourism.

If you can clean you can probably find a job supporting the station tourism industry. Look for jobs on sites like Seek.

Volunteer Opportunities for school leavers

Cahoots provides camps and programs for young people with disabilities. They are looking for Year 12 school leaver volunteers who are willing to support young people to engage with recreational activities.

Find out more HERE.

Volunteer Overseas with Projects Abroad

With projects based on the edge of the world’s best safari and close to Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s no wonder that Tanzania is one of our most popular destinations.

We’ve been based in Tanzania for over 12 years, giving us time to cultivate meaningful placements. Why not explore this magical country and leave a positive impact of your own?

In Tanzania, you’ll help support Maasai communities. Consider the following options:

These projects are available to people of all ages, so get involved! For more insight, read Laura’s story of her experience volunteering in Tanzania.

Check out opportunities HERE.  

Need Experience? Volunteer at Home

Once you leave school it is tricky getting work experience as employers aren’t insured to cover unpaid volunteers.

In Western Australia you can apply for volunteer work through Volunteering WA. People put in requests for volunteers to them and they place people and cover them through the Volunteering WA insurance.

The Volunteering WA people said that when you first start with them they are careful of the sort of work they let you do until you have proven yourself.

Youth Central provides trusted advice on gap year opportunities 

Check out Youth Central. It’s a Victorian Government site that has clear, unbiased tips on taking a gap year.

How to Prepare for a Gap Year – Tips from Omio

Omio publishes a Gap Year Guide.

The guide contains detailed information on:

  • The benefits of taking a gap year

  • How to organize a gap year step by step (e.g., accommodation, transportation, entry requirements & travel restrictions)

  • Itinerary suggestions and tips for travelling in Europe on a budget

  • Volunteering in Europe (10 suggestions)

  • How to successfully find and apply for an internship in Europe

You can find all the articles here:

Subscribe to In Focus Careers News to have West Australian career opportunities delivered to your inbox

August 2023 Issue






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This is how to apply for TAFE 2024

TAFE Colleges open  for 2024 applications on 1 September. Applications close on Friday 3 November.

If you think a VET pathway could lead you to an interesting future, go HERE to find an application form.

Free Course Advice

If you would like to go to TAFE, but you are not certain exactly what to do, get along and see one to the brilliant counsellors at your nearest Jobs and Skills Centre. You can do aptitude tests, check your abilities, chat about what is possible and find the best path for you.

If you want to try to win an apprenticeship, they will tell you how to apply and give you interview tips. 

What level will you go into?

Certificate I delivers entry level skills that prepare you for further study. All Certificate I courses deliver literacy, numeracy, computing and life skills. Some provide additional skills, like basic trade skills and occupational health and safety. Certificate I is great for those without OLNA or WACE.

Certificate II is like year 10 in academic difficulty. Some Cert II courses are general, like the Certificate of General Education for Adults and some are more specific like Security Operations and in Health Support Services.

Certificate III is like year 11 academic difficulty. You do a Certificate III to become:

  • Photo courtesy of Directions Training
    A carpenter (Certificate III Carpentry)
  • An electrician (Certificate III Electrotechnology Electrician)
  • A farmhand (Certificate III Agriculture)
  • A techie (Certificate III Information Technology)

Certificate IV is designed to be a more mature qualification for those with experience or previous qualifications:

  • A carpenter would go on to do a Cert IV in Building and Construction
  • An electrician would maybe specialise in a Cert IV in Electrical Instrumentation
  • A farm manager could do a Cert IV in Agriculture to become a more effective farmer
  • A techie may specialise in Cert IV in Cyber Security

Pathways to VET for those without their WACE or OLNA

The Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment  (OLNA) is designed to enable students to successfully meet the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) literacy and numeracy requirements.

There are several alternative other pathways to TAFE for school students who do not achieve an OLNA.

  • Certificate I entry level with no qualifications required.
  • Vocational pathway (VET in schools): school students who complete a vocational course while at school can rely on their school qualification to demonstrate their literacy and numeracy skills i.e. students can achieve an OLNA or a Certificate I, II or III to gain entry to a TAFE course.
  • TAFE Admissions testing: School students may be eligible to register for TAFE Admissions testing if they have not sat the OLNA at school within the six months preceding TAFE Admissions testing and if they have not exhausted their maximum six attempts at the OLNA while of compulsory school age.
  • Alternative assessment: students can be referred to the learning area at their preferred TAFE college for a Learning Area Assessment.
    • Students can enrol at any Certificate I level, as there are no entry requirements, and
    • Students can enrol into one of the foundation skills and equity courses.

For more information, download the TAFE admissions guide for entry to full time courses for entry to full time courses.

  • Subscribe to In Focus Careers News to find career opportunities in Western Australia

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August 2023 Issue

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        Year 12 Burnout Busters

        Stress + Frustration = Burnout

        Stress – That you STILL have to push through to the end of the year AND get the best possible results.

        Frustration – That you have already been at school sooooo looong.

        Trying to maintain interest when school seems more about the past and only vaguely about the future, can cause lack of motivation and have a bad impact on your academic performance.

        Give school subjects meaning. Link your results to your future life.

        See if you can re-engage with your school work by talking with your school based Career Advisor, (Year Coordinator, favourite teacher, pastoral care officer).

        See an out of school career professional.

        • Jobs and Skills Centres are in most country towns and they are co-located with TAFE colleges in the city. Advisors can do aptitude tests, help you to identify your strengths and suggest possible future. You can find your closest Jobs and Skills Centre HERE.
        • University career advisors are a bit like sales people. They love helping people and they want you to find a course at their university. You will probably choose a uni that is close to where you live. Go to see a career counsellor at which ever university you choose to find out about courses and subjects and the fantastic clubs and opportunities available at that university.
        • See an independent, impartial professional career advisor (like me).

        If you want impartial advice on the different universities in WA, get A Comprensive Guide to Going to Uni in WA in 2024. You can get it HERE.

        Finding a scholarship to apply for could motivate you.


        Scholarships not for you? Think again. The world wants you to succeed.

        Scholarships for Academic Superstars

        Try these ideas to motivate yourself over the next few weeks

        • Create SMART goals for each subject, then plan your timetable for the next few weeks. Find how to do that HERE.
        • Walk around your future uni campus and imagine yourself there (once you get through this last few weeks).
        • Go to an information evening at your future university.
        • Talk to a student already at the university for tips on how to overcome year 12 burnout.
        • You are not the first one to feel burnt out. Counselling services like Beyond Blue know how to support you.

        There are many paths to university. Check Alternative Paths to Uni in 2024

        Plan a Gap Year

        If you can make it through to the end of the year, apply to uni like everyone else, then defer once you get your offer and take a gap year in 2024.

        A comprehensive Guide to Gap Year Ideas that may interest you

        Three Gap Year stories to give you ideas of what’s possible

        Leave School Now

        If you REALLY can’t stand it, take a break. Leave school if that is the best option for you.

        Check out Alternative Paths to uni in WA 2024

        I have talked to many parents who have pressured their year 12s to:

        “Hang in there.”

        “You are so close to the finish line. Don’t waste it.”

        They are doing this because they love you and want what’s best for you. They clearly don’t understand your level of burnout.

        Take time to explain your distress.

        Talk with a counselling service like Beyond Blue. They will know how to help you.

        There are a million paths to your best possible future and getting great end of school results is just one of them.

        Don’t get on the Uni Bus unless you know where it’s going.

        Year 12 can be an endurance test. Trying to link future you with what you are doing now may help. Good luck as you enter this final stage of your school career.

        Subscribe to In Focus Careers News to find opportunities that help you to find where you belong.

        Cover of July In Focus Careers Magazine
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        Do this to achieve ATAR success in December

        Your big hairy audacious goal might be as vague as “To have an amazing life”.

        No matter how big your dream goal, you will need a plan to succeed. If you are an ATAR student you will need a plan that leads to a great ATAR score.

        SMART Goals

        SMART goals are different to big hairy audacious goals. SMART goals are not about dreams, they are about nailing down your dreams into specific, measurable goals.

        Create a SMART goal FOR EACH SUBJECT!

        Example: I will improve my English result by 10% next term by asking my teacher, each week, for feedback and advice about what to work on next.

        SWOT Analysis

        Once you have your SMART goals, do a SWOT analysis. The SWOT will help you to understand your capacity to improve your ATAR score.

        Brainstorm your ideas. Have a friend help or just do it alone.

        • Do STRENGTHS first.
          • Do WEAKNESSES second.
        • Then OPPORTUNITIES.
        • Do THREATS last.

        Don’t think about your ideas. Just write them down as dot points.

        Do a USED Analysis to get your action keys to success

        You create a list of actions by doing a USED Analysis on the list of ideas from your SWOT.

        Take 10 minutes to go through the ideas in your SWOT.

        See how you can Use your strengths. Stop your weaknesses. Exploit your opportunities and Deny any threats.

        At the end of your USED analysis, your ideas are a list of actions. These actions are your key to success. By undertaking these actions, you will achieve your goal.

        Success Planning

        Your USED analysis has given you a list of tasks that will lead you to your goal. Work with your list:

        1. Choose the task that you want to do first. (Break it down into smaller tasks if necessary.)
        2. Figure out WHEN you are going to do the first task.
        3. When will it be finished?
        4. How will you know you have done it successfully?
        5. Create your plan for four actions that you want to do first.


          You are now well on the way to achieving your best possible ATAR score. You have your plan. You know what to do.

          Subscribe to In Focus Careers News to find opportunities that help you to find where you belong.

          Cover of July In Focus Careers Magazine
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          Alternative Paths to uni in WA 2024

          All universities have developed lots of pathways to their door. The choices can be confusing.

          Alternative Pathways to Uni in WA 2024  collates information on all the different pathways and provides:

          • tables of courses offered by each university

          • links to more detailed information for each pathway.

          What’s good about alternative pathways?

          Alternative pathways are frequently free.

          As you do the course you find out about uni life and about a range of degrees that are available. You may find out about less expensive ways of doing your degree or about scholarships. 

          Courses like medicine, which have strict quotas, are not available through alternative pathways, but most courses will be open to you. 

          Although each course is different there are usually 4 subjects like….

          • Academic Writing

          • Research Skills and Information Literacy

          • Communication Skills

          • Essential Maths

          You will meet new people, talk about courses, costs and career options with them, explore the campus and libraries and get familiar with the uni IT systems. 

          How to choose a university

          Pick a university that you would like to belong to. 

           Is it close? Are your friends going there? Does it have a great course? Do you like its ranking by past students

          • Go to that university and meet with a career advisor. Tell them what you would like to study.

          • Ask them what is available to help you to meet entry requirements. They will point you to the best course for you, or design one that meets your needs. 

          Check out Which Uni is Best for You? for a quick overview of West Australian unis.

          Final Tips

          • Students can calculate their anticipated ATAR HERE

          • Students can check the Lowest Offered ATAR Rank in 2023 to see if they have a chance of getting in next year.

          • If something goes wrong in Year 12, you could apply for special consideration through the TISC Access Scheme

          Get your copy of Alternative Pathways to Uni in WA 2024

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          Are creative career pathways a passport to poverty? No Way. Check out these Digital Creative Arts VET courses

          Are creative career pathways worth following? STEM careers are all we hear of.

          Do not dispair. Creative thinking, social influence, flexibility and agility are all up there in the World Economic Forum Top 10 Skills.World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report

          Since 2015 the World Economic Forum  has analysed a significant shift from a focus on:

          • Complex Problem Solving ,

          • Critical Thinking and

          • Quality Control

          to a 2027 predicted focus on:

          • Creative thinking,

          • Leadership and social influence and

          • Resilience, flexibility and agility. 

          It seems as if there is an emerging trend towards more human skills in the workplace. 

          Christopher Rodwell from Barking Gecko Theatre  recently wrote on LinkedIn  that 

           …. the world’s most vibrant cities have arts at their core…and the only way you can achieve that connection with the arts is through introduction at a young age.

          He reported that performing arts lead to:

          • 50% improvement in capacity to improvise/sustain creative scenarios (ie problem solving and innovation)

          • 55% expansion in perspectives and interpersonal skills (ie strengthening teamwork skills)

          • 10% increase in hope for the future after one year (ie their perspective on likelihood of performing well at school or graduating)

          You can read Christopher Rodwell’s post HERE. 

          I began my full time career as an English teacher. My love of creative arts has enriched my life and helped me throughout my working life. I am starting a campaign to celebrate creative arts careers. 

          I am collating creative industries opportunities into a poster of career blocks like the 16 Mind Maps for Career Advisors16 Mind Maps for West Australian Career Advisors

          One of the Mind Maps will identifiy Digital Creative Arts VET courses.

          You can find the Mind Map HERE.

          The Mind Maps can be updated so please let me know of any opportunities that I haven’t captured. 

          Subscribe to In Focus Careers News to discover career opportunities for West Australian students.

          Email me at



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          16 Mind Maps for West Australian Career Advisors

          16 Mind Maps for West Australian Career Advisors

          For some time I have been concerned that I overwhelm people with the amount of information I’m sending out. I have collated information into handbooks, made career events calendars and made Coggle mind maps in an effort to make the information more user friendly.  

          A couple of weeks ago Dr Kathleen Franklyn from the Jobs and Skills Centres posted a UK banner on LinkedIn. The banner was of 16 ways to discover your future. 

          I took that idea and created 16 categories of information that subscribers to my newsletter find most useful.

          Behind each category I have created Coggle mind maps of websites, tools and information that provide a ready reference for West Australian career advisors. 

          The resulting poster is one of the best resources I have put together. It gathers masses of information into categories. Users can click on a category and be linked through to a mind map of websites and tools that are useful to West Australians. 

          16 Mind Maps for West Australian Career Advisors

          I use the Coggle mind mapping tool because:

          • you don’t have to subscribe to use the information

          • I find it easy to update the maps

          Each Coggle Map looks like this one that shows Green Volunteering opportunities that I posted last year. 

          Green volunteering mind map

          If you would like a copy of this poster, they are available HERE. 

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