When you leave Year 12 there are 3 main paths that you can take:
The Other Way
Taking The Other Way from school takes courage. Your friends will try to get you to follow them. They want you with them. By taking another way you may be challenging them to think twice about the path they are taking.
You parents will worry about you. It’s good to be able to tell them that you have a plan.
Finding what you are interested in is driving your plan. Taking a gap year provides opportunities to meet people, explore who you are, do different things and find what works for you.
You get paid. You can save for a car, or travel. You can afford to go out and to buy cool clothes. You may learn about how to manage money. You will learn and about award rates of pay, overtime, sick leave and holiday pay.
You meet lots of new people from different places and find out about their lives. You will probably make friends for life with people you meet at this time.
You get to leave home without having to pay for rent, electricity and food.
You learn new skills. Trying lots of different roles and learning new skills will help you to decide what you like and don’t like, without spending time and money at uni or TAFE.
You find out about life in the army, navy or air force.
The horticulture industry has relied on people from overseas to pick their fruit and vegies. It turns out the pay and conditions were shocking and Australians initially refused to take up the jobs. Things are getting better so check out the opportunities to travel Australia and become harvest trail nomads.
If you can find a job in a resort or motel chain, take that, it is more likely to pay sick leave, holiday pay and superannuation. Wherever you get a job, make sure your pay and conditions are legit. Ring or email the Fair Work Ombudsman if you need to check.
Work on a Station
Can’t ride a motor bike or muster cattle?
Ellenbrae Station, halfway between Derby and Kununurra, sells thousands of scones to tourists who travel up the Gibb River Road every year.
All of the 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.
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.
Check out Youth Central. It’s a Victorian Government site that has some good tips on taking a gap year.