Written by Amy Dyer
The environment and landscape of education has changed considerably over the past 20 years and our graduating students are facing a new era of employability. For parents who are navigating senior schooling with their children, it can be hard to differentiate between what is reality and what is myth. Let’s work through a few of these together.
Myth: The only way to university is by achieving an ATAR.
Reality: Vocational Education and Training qualifications (VET) of a Certificate III or higher if completed while at school can lead to direct entry to a number of Bachelor courses.
Many students are now choosing to complete a combined program of ATAR subjects and Vocational qualifications. This provides balance, variety, work readiness and an ATAR equivalent as a safety net for university entry.
Myth: University graduates earn more than VET graduates.
Reality: University and VET both offer a wide range of qualifications that lead to a wide range of salaries. The qualification alone will not guarantee a high salary, it is important to recognise effort and determination as equal contributors to success.
Myth: No one will hire me because I lack experience, have low grades and have gaps in my work history.
Reality: People overcome all kinds of challenges to find satisfying work. A qualification is only one criterion for gaining meaningful employment. There are many other qualities that employers are looking for. How you handle adversity is a good indicator of your ability to persevere. Volunteering in a related occupation shows passion, drive and initiative. Communication skills, interpersonal abilities and enthusiasm often lead to being a good cultural fit for a company and this can be equally if not more important than your skill set.
Myth: I need to leave school to start a traineeship or apprenticeship.
Reality: School based traineeships and apprenticeships (SAT’s) are an innovative way to allow students to complete Year 12 while incorporating a traineeship or apprenticeship. Students who wish to pursue their career early can complete a school based traineeship or apprenticeship by engaging in a partnership between a registered training organisation (RTO) and an employer in an area of their choosing. The student is released to the employer for 1–2 days per week for paid work while completing their school certificate to maximise their pathway options post Year 12.