In Focus Careers

Creating insanely great career education in Western Australia.

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Gap Year Ideas


If you don’t want to start uni or TAFE in 2018 why not really use your gap year to explore your world.

Most sites are trying to sell you something.

For unbiased government information check Youth Central in Victoria .

 Lattitude Global volunteering

Offers work placements in schools, outdoor centres and on environmental projects, throughout the world. Go HERE for more information.

AFS Australia

Offers school exchanges from 4 weeks to one year, all around the world and, in some cases with generous scholarships. It’s a very long process. Go HERE for more

Cultural Care Au Pair

Offers work placements as au pairs/nannies in the US. Find out more HERE information.

Projects Abroad Australia

Offers volunteer work in a variety of countries. It prides itself that its volunteer’s learn from their chosen projects and the people they meet — and vice versa. Mutual learning and respect is what cultural exchange is all about. For more information go HERE.

Flying Fish

Provide training and jobs in watersports and mountain sports. This is an excellent way to develop new skills and qualifications whilst having a gap year break. For more information go HERE.


If you wish to explore more gap year opportunities contact me at 



Extra Curricular Opportunities

You need to get out more!! School is a safe zone. You can get out, meet people and try stuff using that safe zone as your base.

Curtin Eco Challenge

Fullscreen capture 11072017 35402 PM.bmpThe Eco Challenge is a free online UN Environment Programme game organised in Australia by Curtin Uni.

There are two players per team and they play to align the demands of government, commerce, health and industry to manage a water supply.

The competition is structured in two tiers – national and international. Teams are ranked nationally and top teams will be acknowledged in the international competition. It is possible to play quickly as a beginner and gradually learn how to play a more skilled game.

For more information go HERE


Fullscreen capture 12082017 12844 PM.bmpThe Worlds of Work careers education resource connects secondary school students of all ages with life beyond school by investigating the question: “What does it take to succeed in life and work?”

The platform is designed to provide the full careers program (including its mapping to the Australian Curriculum) for teachers to adapt to their classroom context.

WOW’s online careers education platform and resources can be accessed here.

$20 BOSS

Developed by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) and the National Australia Bank, $20 Boss is an in- school challenge, run by teachers, which provides

your students $20 of start-up money to create their own business.

Register HERE for 2018


The STARportal has almost 200 STEM opportunities for K-12 students in Western Australia.Fullscreen capture 1102017 11330 PM.bmp


Rotary is looking for students between the ages of 15 and 18 who will apply for the opportunity to travel overseas, stay with a family and experience a different culture and lifestyle. At the same time they will be informing their host community of the Australian way of life and building better international understanding and goodwill.

Exchange students in 2019 may reside in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark including Iceland, Finland including Estonia, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Spain, Poland, Thailand, South Korea, USA, Peru or Italy.

The closing date for Rotary Youth Exchange Applications for 2019 is March 31st 2018



A great way of getting skills and broadening your experience is via a cadet program.

Secondary school students who join a cadet program typically undertake adventurous training, camping, hiking, sporting activities and exercise their leadership potential.

Find out more about Cadet WA programs HERE.


Unleashed Awards

Each year, the Foundation for Young Australians recognise and celebrate the genuine impact young people have made to the biggest social and economic challenges of our time. The annual Unleashed Awards honour their incredible contribution to our world with a night of music, celebration, and speakers at Australia’s premier social change awards for young people.

The Jump Start Award and Rookie of the Year Award (Years 7 – 10) are both aimed at younger kids. Nominate before September 10 for 2017  HERE.


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Spark_Lab brings students and teachers up close and personal with contemporary artists, dancers, theatre makers, musicians and innovators across a wide range of disciplines through an exciting program of events, activities and online resources.For more information and bookings, contact Education Programs Curator Minaxi May via or 9228 6300.


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HackED is run by LandGate (government department) to support the development of creative ICT skills by high school students who mashup location based information to provide new information.

A video on an earlier HackEDs can be seen HERE.


Western Australian universities have collaborated with ConnocoPhillips to design and deliver a wide range of fascinating science activities under the guidance of scientists who love their work.

All WA universities have come on board with this one. You can find out details about the programs HERE

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RobocupRoboCupJunior fosters Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics research by providing a standard problem where a wide range of technologies can be integrated and examined. The ultimate goal of RoboCup is that by the middle of the 21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall play (and win!) a soccer game against the (human) world champions. For more information go HERE.


Fullscreen capture 14082017 31749 PM.bmpYoung ICT Explorers is a non-profit competition, which has been created by SAP to encourage school students to create their best Information and communication Technology (ICT) related projects.

For more information go HERE.


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FIRST  Robotics Competition brings together students and mentors to build robots that perform in a competitive but gracious environment against teams from all over the world.

Students learn teamwork, collaboration, public speaking, technical science and engineering skills. For more information go HERE



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Today’s kids and their ideas for today and tomorrow will change the game as we know it. The purpose of Game Changer Awards is to inspire and enable youth to build their dreams and creations through an environment that rewards ideas, imagination and a dare-to-try attitude using a wide range of digital technologies.

We are looking for entries from both primary and secondary schools classes. For information go HERE.


Educatin Lab

This FREE program engages volunteer UWA science and maths students who work on projects with high school students to help build a deep understanding of maths and science. Find out more here.


Fullscreen capture 14082017 35556 PM.bmpCoderDojo WA is a network of coding clubs (Dojos) throughout Western Australia. Dojos provide fun, free and social open learning environments where young people can meet others with similar interests, develop 21st century skills and build creative projects of their own choice using digital technology. Find out more HERE.

Keep up with opportunities to co-create your future. Subscribe to the Careers Newsletter.

You can subscribe to the Careers Newsletter HERE.


4 Steps to Help Your Kids Achieve Their Dream

You know hip, cool and trendy when you see it.

design 1

Nhulunbuy isn’t it.


There is no clear path from Nhulunbuy……. hip, cool and trendy!!

No path

Dana was in Year 10 at Nhulunbuy High School and she wanted to become a hip, cool, trendy graphic designer.

But Dana lived in Arnhemland. Her Dad worked at the bauxite refinery. Her Mum was from the Philippines. Her little sister was in primary school. They would do anything for her, but they had no idea how to help her to become a graphic designer.

Dana was facing barriers that stop thousands of students reaching their potential. Talent gets left on the table everyday.

But sometimes it can seem like magic happens.

Dana HAS become a graphic designer. In 2015 she was named one of the Five Illustrative Designers Killing it on Instagram. You can see her hip, cool and trendy work on Instagram HERE

Dana’s 4 Steps to Her Dream

Dana’s greatest asset was herself. Her talent and determination drove all of us to believe in her dream and do what we could to support her.

Step 1 – Discover How to Do More

Subject choices were limited at Nhulunbuy High School. In Year 11 Dana did more. She enrolled in Information Processing and Publishing externally via the Open Access College in Adelaide.

Step 2 – Find the YES ….AND Technique

Dana’s greatest source of support was her talented and wonderfully enthusiastic art teacher who said,  “YES Dana. You CAN be a designer.” AND proceeded to teach her how.

Step 3 – Ask for Help

It is amazing how helpful people will be if you only ask.

We asked an architect 2000 km away in Cairns if he would give Dana work experience. “I don’t do interior design but I am happy to help if you think it might be useful.”

Step 4 – Giga Dreams – Nano Steps 

Dana’s dream was big. Her steps were small. She read magazines, worked at her art, kept looking for opportunities and studied externally. She talked to her family about design courses and talked to anyone who would listen about her dream.

Magic Happens Slowly


Dana’s journey wasn’t a fairy tale. She overcame many barriers.

When she left school she went to work in the bauxite refinery where she saved money to pursue her dream.

Dana had graduated from a small remote high school. She found a university that wouldn’t overwhelm her.

She was the first in her family to go to university and needed that university to provided appropriate support.

She relocated to university leaving her her family behind in Nhulunbuy.

Dana graduating

Dana did it. She graduated with a Bachelor of Design from Queensland College of Art.

Say YES 

You can help talented heroes like Dana to achieve their dreams.

Nano Steps:

  • Becoming an expert in career news and opportunities via the In Focus Careers Newsletter.
  • Sharing teaching resources with other careers teachers. Alice Sounness from John Curtin College has already shared some of hers which are posted here.
  • Ask me for help if you have a student who is facing barriers. I will see what support I can rally through the In Focus Careers network.


bust-small-72dpiIf you are tired of not knowing what to do next it may be time to think about consulting a professional career advisor to set you in the right direction. Email me at  or you can phone me on M:0434056412


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Parents as Career Partners 101


self orderingOn Monday I saw my first “Automated Ordering Kiosk” at McDonald’s.

Is nothing sacred?!

Even this bastion of part time jobs for school students is being automated!

How are kids supposed to learn to “clean as you go” or about customer service, punctuality and responsibility??

Those young managers at McDonald’s did a brilliant job training school kids for 40 years. Now McDonald’s is reducing the number of staff it employs as it moves to self service.

There goes another job opportunity for millennials.

The message is clear. Kids cannot prepare for a career in the 21st century by expecting to do jobs from the 20th century.

Families need to build their own 21st century support system to prepare their children for future careers.

The Method of the Grandmother 2.0 connects your network of family and friends into the collective task of raising your child. By grounding your child in your family’s values they will have a solid launching pad.

The online world gives your child another edge.

Killer Government Career Siteswelcome_door_glow

There are thousands of career sites. These government sites provide current, unbiased and professional information.

The WA Careers Centre

The WA Careers Centre  is in Forrest Place. It provides free information and counselling and you can find a lot of their resources, including occupation videos online.

Commonwealth Education Department

The Commonwealth government Education Department provides a number of resources including the  Careers Bullseye Posters.  These can be a bit of fun. You only have to choose 3 posters and pick a few jobs in each one to be able to see a trend towards potential careers. Once you have picked out some jobs check them out on the WA Careers Centre site.

Youth Central 

Youth Central is a Victorian Government site that I love. It gives information not found on the other sites… from study skills, how to write a CV when you have never had a job and how to make the most of a gap year. Today they have a story up about binge drinking. Fullscreen capture 14042017 24604 PM.bmp


MyFuture is the national careers site supported by all governments (except WA and NSW!).  If your child has a WA Education Department email address you will be able to use that to access the site. If your child goes to a non government school their school may have subscribed which means their school email address will get you access. It is simply the best careers site so worth some effort to log in.

These sites provide a solid foundation of careers information and advice and they can send you off in a thousand directions when you find things you are interested in.

Design the Future

Life after schoolNo other generation of parents has had to cope with so much change. It has never been harder to design a future where kids can be great.

The information on these sites, teamed with your network of family, friends, teachers, career advisors and other professionals, will help you to grow your child into a future ready citizen.

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Parents as Career Partners

Bursting the Homework Bubble

Andrew Sutter – Bubbleosophy

Helping my kids with homework was agonizing. #Parentfail.

I know….

Research indicates that ongoing parental involvement in children’s learning reaps benefits in many ways, including shaping positive attitudes to learning and supporting student achievement. (Education Services Australia)


Sugata Mitra recommends that we use “The method of the grandmother”.

Wow, that is wonderful!

How did you do that?!


Enter The Method of the Grandmothers 2.0

Grandmothers and all your other family and close friends are the most powerful role models for your child. They will be trying to be like these powerful examples of what is important in your family.

You can support your child’s education by immersing them in a rich experience of what you and your family and friends do.

Take your kids to work. Get your family and friends to take your kids to their work. Ask them to talk to your kids about their work.

(Now THAT has to be more fun than spelling homework!! #Badparent – you MUST help with the spelling homework!)

Being conscious of the work world around your family and the values of powerful role models will help your child to make a education and career choices.

Try This

To become more aware of what is important to your family do this….

Make a list of 8 adults in your family or among friends who your child knows and likes.

Note what each person does for a job and 3 attributes that you like about each person.

ValuesIt is likely that your child will choose a career in an industry that is prominent in your family circle. If you are a builder your child may choose to go into the building trades. This could be engineering, trades, urban planning…

It is even more important to know what attributes are important in your circle. If caring and being kind are highly valued choose a job that allows those natural assets to shine.

As robots make jobs redundant and the rate of change increases it has never been more important to be conscious about what is important to us.

Helping your child to be aware and grounded in who they are is the best education and career support you can provide.

The World Economic Forum identified these emerging skills which you can be embedded in the fun stuff you do as you learn together.