This article by Kareena Waters from Industry OneCARD explains her solution to a problem students are experiencing when they apply for jobs.
Students often don’t understand the difference between a VET Delivered in Schools course, and their non VET school curriculum. When potential employers ask them if they have any certificates, the reply is often “No” or “I don’t know”.
A construction/mining employer recently decided to engage a couple of school graduates for a Traineeship in Administration.
After screening resumes and interviews, they finally choose a couple of very suitable candidates, only to find that when the Australian Apprentice Support Network (AASN) signed up the candidate into a traineeship, one already had a Cert III Business Admin, and the other had completed most of the core units.
There was no record of these achievements on their resumes, or any reference to the training during the interview or understand the significance and the value of ‘That training we did at school’.
There is a gap between what students do, and their understanding of how their work contributes to their resume.
Employer’s ability to engage a student on a traineeship is impacted by what VET in Schools certificates a student has commenced or obtained.
Many students have been issued a Unique Student Identifier (USI) but have no idea what it is, or how to access their portal.
Even though Nationally Accredited Units will be recorded on the student’s USI most employers:
want to view and save the certificates, not the USI transcript, and
want to know about any inductions, safety and other inhouse training from students work placement, and or part times jobs, which won’t appear on a USI.
How Industry OneCARD Helps
The OneCARD ™ provides a platform to help employers manage the administrative nightmare of employees’ training and licence records.
Kareena Waters Founder of Industry OneCARD ™ and her team want to provide students, trainees and apprentices a complimentary Industry OneCARD™, to help keep all their certificates, induction records and achievements in one place, and to support the cultivation of good habits around the management of their valuable achievements both accredited and non-accredited.
We have built some great features into Industry OneCARD™ that help when someone is applying for positions, that ensure all records are presented to a recruiter, in a high professional standard.
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.
This could be your big chance to blitz an apprenticeship interview.
Skilled migration has stopped,
Apprenticeship subsidies are high,
Building grants are generous, causing a building boom
Employers are looking for enthusiastic people to take up their jobs.
Therefore, your chances of winning a job are high.
Make sure you don’t miss this window by blowing your interview.
Do you shake hands now?
WA has so little spread of COVID that you can shake hands if you get to the interview stage. However, carry hand sanitizer and use it straight after the interview. Also, make sure you don’t have a pathetic handshake! A wimpy handshake is pathetic but a bone crusher is weird.
Have a firm handshake. Apart from having a decent handshake look at the person, say “Hi. Good to meet you” and smile.
It gives tips on how to give your potential employers a good gut feeling.
If you have a good written application the employer will start off with the feeling that you are going to be good. School leavers can get tips on how to write a good resume and cover letter HERE at Youth Central.
Dress like the employer
Neat casual will probably suit most apprenticeships. Don’t wear a suit. Your employer won’t be wearing a suit.
Finding an apprenticeship
An apprenticeship is a job. You can find apprenticeships through family and friends, on sites like Seek.com.au, through a career advisor, a Jobs and Skills Centre or via a pre-apprenticeship.
Getting a job as a trades assistant can help you to get a foot in the door.
Making a good impression
Employers like applicants who have done volunteer or part time work as it showed their enthusiasm and meant they would have some work ready skills.
Work experience in the field looks good on a resume.
Good school results, particularly in metals, maths and engineering are indicators that you might be a good apprentice in a building trade. Taking a folio of photos of projects you have worked on is a good idea.
Get your driver’s license
A driver’s license is important for most apprenticeships. Start working towards your driver’s license as soon as you turn 16.
At the end of the interview say you really want this apprenticeship.
(Know what to say if they ask why!)
Women in Trades
Only 1-3% of tradespeople are women. Opportunities to earn the big money during mining and building booms are largely given to men while women are directed into low paid caring jobs in the aged, child and disability sectors.
If you go to a school in Western Australia it probably subscribes to the In Focus Careers Newsletter. You can check, and get a complimentary copy here.
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(South Metropolitan Government High School.)
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It doesn’t matter how smart you are, if you come across as rude, lazy… or just not interested, you will not get the job.
I have employed people because they are “nice” over applicants with higher qualifications who clearly thought they were too good for the job I was offering.
Speak to any employer and they will tell you that they want workers who they can get along with. They also want them to turn up, on time, today AND tomorrow and be enthusiastic.
ESSENTIAL EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS to WIN THAT JOB
Interpersonal and people skills (being nice)
Communication and teamwork skills (getting along with the team)
Adaptability and resilience (willing to help out and change direction when things are tough)
Digital literacy, critical thinking and problem solving are way down on the list behind these attributes of a great employee.
In her Building Back Better interview on the ABC program, The Money Lisa Fowkes says employers want employees who know how to work. They don’t want kids who have a Certificate II in employability skills.
There is no substitute for the authentic experience of going to work, learning to work with other people, learning to work towards a concrete outcome.
If you are 18 you are probably out of luck at McDonalds as they like to employ younger workers and train them up so that they are ready to take on management responsibilities at 18.
Big retail outlets like Bunnings and jbhifi are booming during COVID so you may have more luck there.
Look on the usual job sites like Seek and Indeed, and also look on Facebook pages like Perth Jobs. These Facebook pages are free to advertise on so many employers are going there with their job ads.
Many outlets, like your local IGA, will ask you to fill out a standard form.
They can read your writing.
Your phone number is clear.
Your email is NOT CutiefromCottesloe@gmail.com or LazyGuyinBroome@hotmail.com
Many employers will Google you before they offer you a job so clean up your digital profile.
Your Resume is Your Pitch, You Don’t Tell Your Life Story to Win a Job
If you have never written a job application or covering letter go to Youth Central for advice.
WORK EXPERIENCE IS BRIEF, BUT AUTHENTIC
Students usually have the opportunity to do work experience in Year 10, and later if they choose the right courses.
Try to impress
If you get a good employer and if luck is on your side, your work experience could lead to a part time job. You should at least be able to get a reference or have them say they are willing to give you a phone reference if you are going for a job.
The State Government has developed a Work Placement Register of government departments willing to take on students from government schools.
The trick with work experience is that school insurance doesn’t cover you if the experience is not part of a school program. If you get an opportunity to do work experience outside of a school program, go to see your careers advisor or year coordinator to see if they can organise insurance for you.
MENTORS, SPONSORS AND COACHES (Stand on the Shoulders of Giants)
PLEASE see your career advisor or year coordinator and ask if they can help you to get a mentor.
Mentors are priceless. They often work with you for about 3 months. If you are nice (see Interpersonal and People Skills above) they may continue to help you after the formal mentoring has ended.
Mentors can help you to develop employability skills.
Coach a junior sport team, lead a youth group, help to organise Chinese New Year celebrations. All of these experiences add credibility to your resume. They also help you to build your network. The benefit here is that people in your clubs and community groups have probably known you for years and they know your family. They will be happy to give you a reference and may even have a job opportunity for you.
The great thing about volunteering is that you can try lots of different jobs. Three months of volunteering should be enough to make a good impression and learn if you are interested in that industry.
You can find volunteering suggestions HERE or email me for a copy so that you get the live links Bev.J@infocus-careers.com.au . You can find volunteer opportunities on the Seek site, just look for the Volunteering tap at the top. A Google search for volunteer opportunities in your suburb or area will also give you suggestions.
Running your own business will give you heaps of work skills.
It doesn’t have to be a million dollar business. I know young people who run a babysitting club. A friend’s daughter set up an office cleaning business while at uni. My garden needs weeding and I can’t find anyone to do it.
Don’t muck around with this. Remember that your goal is to learn, not just to make some small change.
If there is a job going in our business, we will give it to a family member first.
If no one in our family wants the job, we will check our friends or our friends’ kids.
We give jobs to people we know. It’s always been like that.
Most jobs don’t get advertised. We give jobs to family and friends, or friends of friends. If we can’t find someone through our network and have to advertise, we will try to find someone who is like us.
Five tips that will help you to network your way into opportunities.
1. Don’t be phony
Australians hate crawlers. We hate people who try to be your friend just for what they can get from you.
Stick to your values and be true to yourself first. If people don’t like the real you, it isn’t worth trying to be someone you are not.
I went to school with Greg Yurisich who became a world famous opera singer.
Greg left school and went to work in a clerical job for the ABC in Perth. It didn’t take long for him to get to know people in the orchestra, and to meeting singers visiting from all parts of the world.
Greg was seen in the ABC in Perth long before he performed in all the major opera houses and concert halls of the world. Having a magnificent voice was a good start, but there is nothing more common than wasted talent. Part of Greg’s success strategy was making sure people knew he existed.
4. Do stuff
Join a club, do volunteer work, play sport. You can’t change the world sitting at home in your pyjamas.
The more people you know, the more likely you are to find job leads. Your perfect employer isn’t going to come knocking at your door.
Find Guy Kawasaki’s tips on how to get people to like you HERE.
5. Unearth Your Own Network
Even a hermit on a deserted island probably has a friend who misses him.
It can be hard to see what is right in front of you.
Try creating a mind map of all the people who could possibly help you.
For each person put one thing that they could do to help you.
Apprenticeships are the main things we know that TAFE delivers.
If you want to be a mechanic or electrician, you get an apprenticeship and go to TAFE.
But what about computer technicians, house designers, tourism operators, agriculture and aged care workers?
There are hundreds of jobs you can get with a TAFE qualification.
Do I need a qualification AT ALL after leaving school??
Yes….. The bottom line is that you NEED a post school qualification if you are not to take a pathway to poverty.
Employers pay for knowledge and skills, but:
people who have a Certificate III or IV have about the same unemployment rate as people who have a degree.
people who have a TAFE qualification earn about the same as people who get degrees.
(Statistics from Ivan Neville, Labour Market Research and Analysis, Dept of Labour)
Spot the Difference
Guess which Fashion Course is run at Curtin and which one is run at TAFE?
You’ll focus on the relationship between garment and body, using a theoretical and contextual framework for understanding the cultural significance and practice of fashion design and global trends.
You’ll learn the principles of design and creative studio practice; and develop skills in fabric manipulation and construction, design, pattern-making, styling and fashion illustration.
Study the enterprise skills to work in fashion business. Computer Aided Design (CAD) patternmaking, grading and illustration facilities, world class fashion design and textile forecasting resources, over 80 specialised industrial sewing machines, and a staff of fashion industry specialists, are key to our successes with our industry relevant courses, graduate employment outcomes and recognition in the sector.
It is easy to see that the one that mentions theory is a uni course while the one that focuses on CAD and pattern making has a more practical focus.
Length of Course
An qualified electrician (Certificate III) takes about 4 years to get their license.
A barista takes about a week to get a piece of paper saying they have a set of skills (skills set) rather than a full qualification as a chef. A course on using farm chemicals safely may take a day and you don’t need to be a qualified farmer to do the course.
The focus of the courses is always on providing the skills that industry needs for a particular purpose.
Lots of TAFE courses give you credits at university. A Diploma of Work Health and Safety takes a year to complete and you will get between 6 months and a year’s credit for the Diploma if you do a degree.
A Bachelor of Science (Health, Safety and Environment) takes three years.
Cost per Course
The maximum fee for the one year Diploma of Work Health and Safety is $2,848.50 which included tuition and resources that you may have to purchase.
If you do a course where there is a West Australian skills shortage, like cyber security, aged care or agriculture , your fees will be heavily subsidised by the State government.
The tuition fee for the three year Bachelor of Science degree is $8,460 (Roughly $1000/unit)
There are many scholarships available for university students.
TAFE is More Like School
When you go to TAFE you will probably go into a class of less than 25 students, a lot like a schoolroom or workshop designed to replicate what you will find in the workplace. Some TAFE courses are done entirely in the workplace. Some courses also have a significant theory component – Occupational health and safety, for example, has a lot of chemistry in the course. Veterinary nursing includes anatomy and physiology.
Uni has more Theory
Lectures are a routine teaching methodology at university. You may be in a group of 400 students in a lecture theatre as you are given information by an expert in their field. You are required to do reading on the subject BEFORE you go into the lecture. The subject of your lecture will be followed up by a tutorial or practical workshop on the subject where you can ask questions and gain more in depth knowledge.