Start learning about life at university in Year 9. Check out the food vans. Listen to the music. Go into buildings and see the latest tech tools, computer games and research. See what workshops are on. Find the library, the shops and the toilets.
Explore and Experience Try stuff. There will be people inviting you to engage with practical experiences in their subject. It could be VR. It could be checking out the latest medical research, making a short movie using their studio. All faculties will have practical experiences for you to engage with. Do it now.
Get an authentic experience. Engage with current students. Build on what you have learned in years 9 and 10 visits by asking questions of both students, academics and staff. Check out presentations and exhibitions to see what you will gain most from and register for them, or just make a schedule of where to be and at what time.
Year 12 Tips
This is it. You need to be able to build from your other Open Day experiences. You will know what faculties to visit, and you will have a range of questions to ask. By now you should have narrowed down your options and you will be able to ask specific questions about subjects, industry engagement opportunities, mentors, support programs etc. You will know which presentations and demonstrations you need to revisit.
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.
There are more law graduates in Australia each year than the total number of lawyers in Australia.
It may take you years after you graduate to find a job where you practise law.
Not only are there too many law graduates for the job vacancies that are available, you can get advice on how to write your will online. You can file for divorce online. Artificial intelligence delivers instant information that law degrees take years to deliver.
People don’t go to lawyers if they can save themselves money by doing law themselves.
The demand is down. The price is up. There is a glut of law graduates looking for work.
You might think again about doing a law degree.
Law degrees deliver great thinking and analytical skills
If someone with a law degree applied for a job I advertised, chances are they would get an interview. The job probably wouldn’t demand law work but I would presume the applicant could problem solve, think of good wording for contracts and warn me of any dodgy stuff that was in paper work. Someone with a law degree would probably be a good employee.
On the other hand, someone with a business or commerce degree may be better for my business, AND their degree would have cost them half as much.
Make Smart Decisions
If you bought a car for $70,000 you would check out a few car sales places before you made your decision to buy.
All universities in Western Australia deliver law degrees. Pick two or three universities and make an appointment with career advisors. Check out what law degrees you can specialise in. Compare the different courses and support that the different unis deliver…. there is a big difference between the support provided by unis in WA.
Ask current students questions about the courses on Whirlpool.
The Careers Expo is great fun. There are happy, smiling people. There are glossy brochures and beautiful displays. People on the stands are friendly and helpful. Of course they are! They are professionals. You aren’t going to buy something from someone who isn’t nice.
Many visitors sign up for thousands of dollars worth of training based on a noisy 5 minute discussion in the crowded Convention Centre.
The Expos are a prime marketing place for all education and training organisation. They spend a lot of money on their displays and get their best, nicest, most professional sales people to tell you about their courses.
Don’t sign ANYTHING.
Know that the biggest displays, those closest to the entry doors, and the most professional looking displays have spent the most money on trying to sell to you.
Some are pure information, like the WA Police Force, Construction Training Fund, WA Department of Education – Teaching and Defence Force Recruiting. Others have courses they would like you to know about.
If you are interested in having a Gap Year check out which exhibitors will have information that will interest you. If you are interested in Trades, check out the ones that you must visit.
Make the decision about which ones to visit before you get sucked in by the bright lights and music!
Figure out three questions to ask exhibitor one before you meet with them. Make sure one of your questions is about price if they are selling courses.
Don’t be surprised if they don’t want to answer you about. You may get answers like “It depends on…… ” and “We have a great loan to cover your costs”.
You could also ask….
How much will it cost?
How long the course will take.
What are the entry requirements.
For contacts with current students.
What successful students are like.
Do they have a mid year intake.
If they have links with industry that provides work placement.
How long it takes their graduates to get a job in the industry.
What sort of work graduates get.
STEP 5 – FINAL STEP
Go to see your career advisor to discuss what you have discovered.
If you don’t know a career advisor go to a Jobs and Skills Centre and talk with them. Its FREE. The Jobs and Skills Centres are based in TAFE colleges but they also have information about unis.
Go back to the places you are interested in. You will end up paying a lot for your course. This is probably the first BIG thing you have ever bought. Make sure you are buying something that is perfect for you.
Thanks for the latest newsletter Bev, and for all the information and inspiring ideas over the year. Since I have become a part of the (In Focus Careers) network I have grown in knowledge and motivation to really make a difference for our young people.
This is a snapshot of universities in Western Australia.
BEST IN AUSTRALIA
88.4% of Notre Dame undergraduate students were satisfied with the overall quality of their learning experience according to the Quality Indicators of Learning and Teaching (QILT).
91.1% Were positive about their skills development.
76.6% found full time employment
Notre Dame is a Catholic University but you don’t need to be Catholic or Christian or even religious to go there, and the fees are comparable with other universities.
The point of difference is that Notre Dame does have a spiritual, values driven, caring approach to teaching and learning which underpins their interactions and decision making. That’s why they are topping the QILT ratings.
It is quite a small university with 10,000 students and the vast majority of them are domestic students.
The university is in beautiful renovated old buildings around Fremantle.
Pastoral care and support developed for international students has been made available to help regional and remote students to settle in. The only shortcoming is the lack of Notre Dame student accommodation but the student support services people will help students to find accommodation to meet their needs.
Curtin is by far our biggest university with over 50,000 students. It seems like a city with business centres, shops, gyms, accommodation and bands and food trucks, art galleries and theatres.
I think undergraduate students could have a ball at Curtin, but the sheer size of of the place can be daunting. You need to actively work at getting engaged with the Curtin community, both social and academic, to make the most of your Curtin experience.
Curtin knows this and has invested in providing plenty of help for new students and for students with special needs, but it is up to you to seek it out.
Because of the size of the university there are many opportunities available for students to extend their experience, in Australia and internationally.
Curtin is part of a knowledge precinct in Bentley with CSIRO, Tech Park and the Pawsey supercomputer in the area. Staff and students actively seek to engage with industry to get knowledge and experience and do industry based research. It is number 2 in the world for Metals and Mining Engineering programs. This industry focus underpins the feel at Curtin.
Curtin seems exciting, dynamic and very cosmopolitan with lots of international students and with campuses in Malaysia, Singapore and Dubai as well as the one at Bentley and in Kalgoorlie.
ECU – Edith Cowan University
The Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching ranks ECU as the top public university in Australia for undergraduates’ student experience. You can feel the quality of the experience when you contact ECU for information. They get back to you. They try to help.
ECU started as a college for teacher training and gradually expanded its courses with WAAPA being one of the first ventures into new areas. Now WAAPA has a reputation as one of the BEST performing arts learning academies in the world.
ECU’s more recent expansion has been into engineering with significant investment into new facilities, international learning opportunities and strong demand for graduates.
ECU is pretty big but students are on the Mt Lawley and Joondalup campuses so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.
The buildings are great examples of design with some of the coolest architecture in Western Australia.
ECU is manageable and there is a strong student centric management focus which means students get help to succeed. There are many alternate pathways into ECU including the UniPrep program and experienced based entry.
People who didn’t think they could get into uni and succeed can are supported to thrive at ECU.
Murdoch has recognised that the world is changing and that there is a disconnect between education and where jobs are emerging. It has introduced “adaptive expertise” as a learning spine being introduced across the university.
They are focusing on adapting traditional courses with the application of technologies. So History + STEM could result in machine learning that unearths previously unknown information about cultures. Journalism + STEM, as seen in the use of drones, is revealing what is happening in emergency or war environments.
Murdoch has a strong focus on getting girls into engineering. They have engaged with schools and support in industry to lift the number of girls entering this field which delivers 25% of the world’s CEOs.
Murdoch has the biggest percentage of international students in WA.
They are teaching students to think globally, to seek ways to apply technology to their work and to work collaboratively.
UWA – University of Western Australia
This is our oldest university. Many industry, political and community leaders in Western Australia went to UWA which gives strong links between UWA and leaders across the State.
The UWA campus is beautiful with Winthrop Hall being the most recognised symbol of “a university” in WA. The gardens, theatres and art gallery and its role as the initiator of the Festival of Perth make UWA a hub of culture.
UWA has positioned itself as the university for high academic performers and many high achieving school leavers identify UWA as their first preference.
CQU – Central Queensland University
This is a new comer to Western Australia and it is working hard to attract students from their traditional university pathways with courses in sonography and echocardiography which are new to WA.
The main campus is located near the bottom of William Street near Elizabeth Quay and they have set up study hubs in Busselton, Broome, Geraldton and Karratha. These are often on TAFE campuses.
Many of the students are mature aged, external students who make use of online learning, occasional face to face contact and phone calls to fit their learning around their work and other demands.
Although there are 20,000 students at CQU, they are spread across Australia and numbers in WA are still quite small.
Still not sure what to do?
Go to the university open days
Contact the university career advisors. They are paid to help you.
Contact me. I will be able to point you in the right direction for help.
Director of In Focus Careers Careers Resources Hub for West Australians.