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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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Planning a gap year? Don’t “waste” your time. Here are 3 gap year stories to inspire your thinking

Once you step off the education treadmill, you will have time to look around and check out the world. 

Here are 3 gap year stories to give you some ideas.

Story 1: Equestrian Centre in the South of France


Ariel finished school with an ATAR of 93. She didn’t know what she wanted to do although she generally liked sciences rather than arts.

When she was in Year 10 Ariel went on a holiday to Spain and France with her mother. She loved travelling and discovering other countries.

While she was at school Ariel made money by babysitting. She had done babysitting for a family of doctors since she was in Year 10. She used the money she made to support her equestrian hobby.

The Plan

Ariel decided that she would take a gap year. Work for 6 months to save money to travel to France where she would work as a nanny. 

What Happened

She signed on to a couple of French sites, like Seek, searching for jobs as a nanny. She got her babysitting employers to write her a reference. While she was searching she found an advertisement for a job working at an equestrian centre in the South of France.

She applied for the job and got it.

She travelled to France and worked for 6 months, earning very little, but learning French, working with horses and seeing lots of the country. 

After 6 months she came back and is currently studying paramedicine.

Story 2: Volunteering Abroad


Chloe studied Certificate II in Hospitality while at school and worked part-time in cafes.

She comes from a migrant background and is interested in other cultures and the struggles that people go through in other countries.

The Plan

Chloe wanted to volunteer abroad. She contacted a couple of the organisations that organise young volunteers abroad and found out what sort of experience she needed and what sort of work she could do. 

Chloe worked several jobs in coffee shops and cafes in the months after she left school and attended meetings to find out more about volunteering requirements and opportunities. 

What Happened

Chloe applied for several opportunities in Africa and Cambodia. After a few months, she was offered a 6-month position working in an orphanage in Tanzania.  

She paid for her own airfare but her accommodation and meals were paid for. 

Meeting the orphans and working with them was fantastic. The workers at the orphanage were friendly and helpful.

Chloe had a single room in a  share house with other volunteers. Her work was mainly caring for children aged 4 – 7 years and cleaning and cooking. She had to walk 3 kilometres to work and back each day and it was hot. The mosquitoes were plentiful. 

During her 6 months, Chloe made friends with other volunteers from the USA. She learned how tough and corrupt life can be for some children. She also got to visit Serengeti National Park on the way home. 

Chloe is now buying a share in a cafe that she is managing.

Story 3: Fashion Design in New York


Georgia finished school with an ATAR of 73. She is very stylish and spent much of her childhood living in a resort that her parents managed.

Georgia has a keen interest in fashion and considered specialising in Fashion Design at Curtin University where some of her friends had enrolled in different courses. 

The Plan

Georgia saw a career advisor and then began working on a plan to work for a family friend in a resort for 6 months, before going to New York to do a 6-week fashion and design course.

The cost of doing the course and of living in New York was prohibitive so Georgia got in touch with the College and they were able to arrange for her to share accommodation with some other students.

What Happened

Georgia got in touch with the students she was to share with and found out who they were and where they lived. She arranged to rent a room in their accommodation. 

She borrowed money from her mother as a safety net, then flew to New York a week before the course started. 

The course was fantastic. New York was fantastic.

She met people she could never have met in Australia and learned about the New York fashion industry. She also learned practical design skills and about marketing in the fashion industry.

She had a brilliant time. 

Chloe returned to Australia and began working in a holiday resort again to pay back the money she borrowed from her mother.

She has completed a Diploma in Hospitality and has credits to do a Hospitality Degree. 


Teachers who want to help West Australian students to discover career opportunities need In Focus Careers News

My quest is to democratize career opportunities in Western Australia by broadcasting opportunities and advice to all who will listen. You can tap into my work. 

To subscribe email me: 

Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers

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Year 12 – Choosing Your University: Tips and Advice for Open Days

University open days are great fun. They give you a window into what your life could be like when you leave school

Take your time. Spend 3-4 hours to get the feel of the campus.

Get a Feel of the university

University open days give you an opportunity to experience the campus and the university environment. You can get a sense of the university’s atmosphere, the types of students who attend, and what it might be like to study and live there.

Gather Information

Attending an open day offers an opportunity to ask questions to academic and support staff members, and also to current students. Students can ask about the courses they’re interested in, entry requirements, career prospects, financial support, and other relevant topics.

Building Confidence

 Attending open days can help you to build confidence in your decision-making process. By gathering information and asking questions, you can feel more confident in making informed decisions about your future.

Compare Universities 

 By attending multiple university open days, students can compare different universities and courses, and weigh up the pros and cons of each. This can help them make a more informed decision when it comes to applying for university.

Going to Uni in WA 2024            

Going to Uni in WA 2024  is an essential resource for students and parents navigating the complex process of getting to university in Western Australia. It collates information from universities, government bodies, and educational organizations to provide a comprehensive guide for Year 12 students in Western Australia.

Pick the Best Bits Before You Get There

  • As the day draws closer, each university will finalise its schedule of events, campus tour, displays and classes. 
  • Check the Open Day Program and plan your day.

On the Day

 Don’t rush. Plan to spend 3 – 4 hours at the Open Day.

  • Book a campus tour.
  • If there are overarching welcome events, make sure you go to those. 
  • Go to course information sessions.
  • Go to subject taster sessions

 Pick Me! Faculty Stands

Every faculty wants you to enrol in one of their courses.

Some questions you could ask:

University lecturers are the experts at the faculty stands who you need to approach with questions like:

  • Why do you love working in this field?
  • What are the career opportunities in this field?
  • What are the entry requirements and pathways available?
  • How long will it take to get the degree as a full time student?
  • What subjects can you choose from?
  • What support is available to students.
  • If you qualify within any support group ask about financial and other support that the university provides.

If you do not have course prerequisites or think you may not achieve the required ATAR, ask about alternative pathways.

Find Current Students at the Stands

There will be current students at most stands. Ask them what course they are doing and what they love and hate about it.

Optometry pathway for WA students - Optometry Australia
Curtin University Optometry Pathway

Ask a student ambassador if they are willing to have a coffee with you.

  • Ask why they are doing the course and if they are going to achieve the outcome they hoped for.
  • Find what extracurricular activities there are. Are there any clubs or teams that you can join now?
  • What can the union offer to students?
  • Find out what they have done about fees, financial support and scholarships.

Early Offers

You may be invited to enrol on the spot. Don’t do this.

Don’t make your career decision based on a brochure and 30-second discussion. If there is a crowd at the stand when you visit, ask for an appointment.

Don’t sign up at an Open Day. 


If you plan to stay in university accommodation:

  • Tour at least one of the accommodation colleges
  • Ask where you can find accommodation scholarships and financial support.
  • Watch In Focus Careers News for information about scholarships.

Book an appointment with a career counsellor

Even if you are one of the few who knows exactly what course you want to take, book a free appointment with a career counsellor at the university. They may know of:

  • different subjects that you might love
  • support services that you can tap into
  • sports and clubs you can join now
  • financial systems that are available. 

Get:  Going to Uni in WA 2024

Going to University in Western Australia: A Comprehensive Guide” is an essential resource for students and parents navigating the complex process of getting to university in Western Australia. It collates information from universities, government bodies, and educational organizations to provide a comprehensive guide for Year 12 students in Western Australia.

Subscribe to In Focus Careers News

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A quick trick for choosing a Green Career that resonates with your values

Gen Z’s understand that all forms of work are critically connected to the environment. 

96% of Generation Z’s care about climate change. 

That was the message from Dan Pankraz at the ECU Educators and Influencers seminar.

We need tools that help us to make career choices that resonate with green values. 

Sustainable Development Goals

I just watched a webinar on Green Careers from India. They are SO far ahead of us. They have strategies that:

build awareness that survival of our planet is directly linked to the manner in which jobs and careers are being practised. They take into account and create awareness of the environmental impact of vocational choices.

Sachin Kumaled the discussion supported by Rayan Miranda

They suggested that we use the Sustainable Development Goals as a prompt for helping people to identify careers that restore the planet.

After the webinar, I used the technique on a friend who is looking for a career change. It worked like magic.  

She quickly checked through the goals and chose the two that resonated most with her. She has now gone off to check out what jobs she could do within two of the goals.  

Okay, she is an adult. If I was doing it with school kids I would print off, laminate and cut up the goals so that they could play with and prioritise them.

They would need more support to check out careers that are consistent with their goals, and pathways to those futures. 

I thought using the Sustainable Development Goals was a great idea, and using them helps career practitioners to do more meaningful work. 

What Jobs?

You can find jobs ideas for each Goal HERE.

For information about career opportunities in Western Australia subscribe to In Focus Careers News

Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers

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Don’t get on the uni bus unless you know where it’s going

At a recent university seminar for career practitioners, one speaker complained about West Australian school leavers not going to uni. 

No wonder they aren’t going.

  • There is such a critical skills shortage happening that employers are ringing schools asking if there are any suitable students for great jobs with career prospects. Students can walk out of school and straight into a job with an okay salary.
  • The State Government has been pouring money into vocational education and training. There is a bigger variety of courses, they are cheap or free and many give credits to uni degrees.
  • Uni courses are expensive.

Why would you go to uni?

Those who are not sure what uni to go to, or what they want to study, still get onto the uni bus because:

  • Their friends are going to uni and they don’t want to be left behind.
  • The uni bus came for them while they were at school so they bought a ticket.
  • Their parents told them to get on the bus.
  • Teachers knew about the uni bus and talked about their experiences in a positive way.

Just because the university bus is ready to pick you up from school, doesn’t mean that you have to get on.   Maybe you want to get on the backpacker bus. Or the Harvest Trail bus. Or the VET bus. Or the job bus. 

Very few students are 100% sure of the university course that they want to take. About 30% realize that the course they are studying is not the right one for them, and they change direction. Others drop out altogether and end up feeling like they have failed. 

Check out Leaving  Year 12? These gap year ideas may interest you

If you are not sure what to do at uni, DON’T GET ON THE BUS.

The uni bus fare is expensive

Buying a uni course is not like buying a car. You can’t sell your used course to the next buyer who comes along.

  • If you get off the bus before you get to the destination YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY. 
  • If you fail, YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY.
  • If you change courses, YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY for the part of the course you used before you changed direction.

You can estimate how much your degree is going to cost you by using the UWA fees calculator 

Defer uni for a year

If you are not sure what course you want to do, you can still apply for a place at uni and, once you get offered a place, defer taking it up for a year.  

After working for a year you will have a clearer idea about which units to enrol in.

Check out the ideas in Going to Uni in WA – Mind Map for Year 12

Vocational Courses

Vocational Education and Training has been the winner in the post-school revolution in Western Australia.  In an effort to support industry, the West Australian government has been introducing short courses, skills sets, and employer subsidies. Industry has been partnering with training providers to deliver skills on the worksite.  There are hundreds of courses available. If you are unsure what course you might like to do or how to enrol find a Jobs and Skills Centre  near you for careers guidance. It’s free. They can tell you what courses will give you credits at uni. 

You HAVE to do post-school learning

You can’t just leave school and never study again.  Okay, you can, but poverty could be your lifelong friend.

  • People who have post-school qualifications earn more money and have more life choices.
  • The world isn’t going to stop changing just because you aren’t learning new skills.

You need to keep up with changes in the world of work either by learning on the job, or online or in a classroom. Getting tickets, qualifications, and recognition for your learning will help you to have choices and steer your career in different directions. The skills you gain may even get you credits in some units at uni. 

Take Your Time

More haste less speed is an old saying.

It means, don’t rush into things. 

If you are not sure what direction to take, slow down and look around. There are many directions to take as you leave school. Uni is just one of them. 

To keep up to date with career news for West Australians, subscribe to In Focus Careers

Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers
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Leaving Year 12? These Gap Year ideas may interest you


“Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.” ― Kobi Yamada                                                             

It takes courage to take the leap from school and out of a supportive education and training world. These gap year ideas may help you to build your wings.  

Volunteer Overseas

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. 

Work Overseas

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

Check out the programs provided by LetzLive.

Travel Australia

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. 

You can find Harvest Trail jobs HERE.

You can apply for Relocation Assistance HERE


If you’re 18-25 and looking to start a career in a meaningful and exciting industry, an AgCAREERSTART gap year will help you gain skills and knowledge to grow the farms of the future.

4 young farm workers walking and talking, next to a red vehicle

Over 10-12 months you will live in an exciting regional location, earn a nationally recognised qualification and build life-long industry connections.

  • Get hands-on experience

  • Increase your confidence

  • Work outdoors and discover rural and regional Australia

Find out more HERE

CBH Employs 1000 people on the wheat bins

This is from the CBH site:

Working as a CBH harvest casual is a great opportunity to explore, live, work and immerse yourself in regional Western Australia (WA) for a short period of time while earning decent wages.

CBH manages sites all across regional WA where our growers deliver their grain once it has been harvested, and each year we recruit a pool of harvest employees to help us keep these sites moving, getting growers and transporters in and out safely, quickly and back to harvesting.

Check out the opportunities HERE. 

Hospitality and Tourism

The boom in tourism within Australia is being slowed by the shortage of workers in resorts, coffee shops, motels, road houses and caravan parks.

Sandfire Roadhouse

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.

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? Maybe you can make scones or serve coffee. 

Ellenbrae Station, halfway between Derby and Kununurra, sells thousands of scones to tourists who travel up the Gibb River Road every year.

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.


Gap Year in Defence (skip this section if you don’t want to try defence opportunities)

The Australian Department of Defence provides a structured, paid path to discover lots of stuff. 

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.

You can check out Defence Force Gap Years HERE

Army Reserves – if you would like to serve part time

If you want to do something really different on a part time basis, while helping the community and giving something back to our country, you can apply to join the Navy, Army or Air Force Reserve. There are a range of Reserve jobs in every category, so please check the entry requirements on each job page. Find out more HERE.


Need Experience?

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.

Free Tips

Youth Central 

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 has sent me a link to their Gap Year Guides which delivers great resources to prepare for a Gap Year.

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:

Good luck with your plans for 2023.

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

Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers


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Going to Uni in WA – Mind Map for Year 12s

This map delivers links to information for Year 12s in Western Australia who want to go to uni in 2023. The links are to:

  1. Deciding what to do

  2. Logistics of getting there

  3. Money matters

  4. Career resources It collates In Focus Careers blog posts, resources and other mind maps for West Australian Year 12s who want to go to uni in 2023.

For more information and resources for West Australian students, subscribe to In Focus Careers News.

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Year 12: Becoming clear on what to do next year.

If you are in Year 12, you need to decide where you want to belong when you leave school. 

Most of us don’t remember our dreams. Your dreams, or even your vague ideas will come in a whisper, not in a shout. Here are some tips on how to listen to your heart.

Tip 1:

Take the best stuff from your life now into your new life when you leave school.

Career ideas don’t come fully formed. This simple trick will help you to see some possibilities. 

Make a list of the things you do in a day. This list provides you with the raw material that you need to decide where you want to belong.

  • Get up
  • Have breakfast
  • Bus to school.
  • Maths
  • English
  • etc

Expand your list by adding what you do on a weekend or on holidays or things you liked when you were younger.

  • Play basketball
  • Go to the beach
  • Customer service at Brumby’s

When you have finished your list, highlight the things you like doing most. Check out those things and use them to guide your decisions about where you want to belong next. 

Ideas are most at risk when they are vague and new. 

Ideas need pampering or they will fade away.

Talk to your career advisor to get ideas about how you can do more of what you like doing most. 

You can also check out how to do more of what you like through a free appointment with a careers counsellor at a Jobs and Skills Centre. 

For more information go to Get on track to uni in WA 2023 or .Year 10 Magic Happens: Careers Handbook

Tip 2:

It is tricky to be clear about what is important to you 

For Donald Trump money and power are important.

For the Wiggles it is entertaining little kids.

You can figure out what is important to you through this game:

  • Write a list of 8 people who you like. They don’t even have to be real people. Your dog could be on the list.
  • Once you have finished your list write three things that you like about each person.

If you included your dog you might have:

MIssy – Friendly, fun, understanding.

You will have 24 different things that you like.

Group together similar things. The things that appear most are those things that are most important to you. 

Let those things guide your decisions about where you want to go next.

If making money and having power is important to you, you won’t want to go to care for orphans in Cambodia.

If entertaining little kids is important to you, you might check out early childhood education. That is where the original Wiggles started. 

For more information go to Get on track to uni in WA 2023 or .Year 10 Magic Happens: Careers Handbook

In Summary

From little things big things grow. 

Start by listening to what you like now. From those ideas you can grow your future.

Check to see if those thing sounds true to your values. 

Stand on the shoulders of giants. Ask older people for information. Ask what they did. We all want you to succeed. 

Get on track to uni in WA 2023                                   Year 10 Magic Happens Careers Handbook

Get on track to uni in WA 2023

To discover career opportunities in Western Australia, subscribe to In Focus Careers News

In Focus Careers News

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Pathways from High School – Video presentation for West Australian Senior Students

The content was just what our Year 12’s needed, and the timing is perfect.
This 30-minute Pathways from High School presentation with video is a great alternative to the face-to-face presentations as it can be shown to students and families, at any time.

Students can even take a copy home and watch it with their parents!!

Don’t be ridiculous!!

3 Pathways

It shows 3 different case studies. 

Pathway 1: Judy the academic superstar

Judy is an academic superstar who checks out the Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours) at Curtin, medicine everywhere, and Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) at UWA. 

Pathway 2: Flynn General ATAR, Alternative Pathway

 Flynn is looking for alternative pathways for non-ATAR school leavers. He checks out all of the unis, looks at university preparation courses and seeks advice from career counsellors and Centrelink.

Pathway 3: Angie VET and Gap Year

For those wanting a Gap Year, who never to return to full-time study again. Angie looks at the Defence Gap Year program and at Harvest Trail as well as at some on the job training she can do at McDonald’s and online courses. 
I recommend that all students seek professional advice that narrows down to their personal choices, once they have a general idea of which direction they want to take.
Find this presentation HERE.
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Gap Year Ideas for 2022

West Australians school leavers are checking out their options before they make long term plans. You may have read the Year 12 Gap Year Ideas and Tips for 2022.

Omio has sent me a link to their Gap Year Guides which delivers great resources to prepare for a Gap Year

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 traveling 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:

Good luck with your plans for 2022.

For clear, trusted career advice for West Australian students subscribe to Infocus-Careers News

Evangelist for insanely great careers education in Western Australia