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You’ve left school – now what?

Do you go straight from school into university or TAFE? Take a gap year to travel or find work and save some money? Earn while you learn through an apprenticeship or traineeship?

We’ve got 5 tips to help you work out the best path for you after leaving school.

Tip 1 – Do not Fear the Decision

Whatever decision you make now need not be feared – it will not drastically impact your future career path ‘forever’. Sure, your decision can get you onto the right start early if you want, even if that means you are finding out what you don’t want, not just what you do want for yourself. Just remember, a career path is never a straight pathway and is more likely a winding staircase. It takes time and never truly ends, even when you get older.  So feel comfortable knowing that whatever decision you make, even if it is to not make a decision, this is the right one for you. For now.

Tip 2 – Know Yourself

Round pegs in square holes is never a good thing. Nevertheless, many people find themselves in jobs they hate. Perhaps they like the outdoors but are stuck in an office job that doesn’t inspire them. Or they prefer being indoors but are outdoors suffering with hayfever and bad weather days.

Knowing what you prefer, your working style, personality, strengths and weaknesses is a great first step in carving a happy and successful career. When you find something you are good at, that you enjoy doing, work doesn’t feel so much like work. A great way to learn more about yourself is take undertake career assessments like Cognisess. This free online assessment will provide you with a full assessment report that outlines your strengths, preferences and career paths that suit you.

Cognisess: Discover More about your career path preferences.

Tip 3 – Earn and Explore

Whether you go to uni, TAFE or take a gap year, getting some casual or part time work is always a good thing, and it really doesn’t matter what kind of work it is.

In any workplace you will learn valuable skills like teamwork, time management, communication, customer service and more. You will gain references and show future employers you can be relied on, and you may even discover an industry career path you hadn’t considered before.

Tip 4 – Talk to Everyone you Know

If you are looking for work opportunities that can lead to a career path, talk to everyone you know. Your parents, family and friends have a huge network collectively and with 70% of jobs never being advertised it is very true that it’s ‘who you know’ that can assist.

If you are considering a career pathway through an apprenticeship or traineeship, approaching businesses in the industry you want to work in, possibly offering to do a trial even, can open doors. Once you have proven yourself, your employer may consider putting you on as an apprentice or trainee where you can both earn money and learn the trade or skills for the industry.

There are over 500 apprenticeship or traineeship options in a range of industry careers from Animal Care to Boat Building, Construction, Design or Business. Through an apprenticeship or traineeship you also get a head start in your career, working in the industry, making contacts and earning money all at once. What’s not to like?

Tip 5 – Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Lastly, if you do decide to try one career path then realise it doesn’t suit you, don’t beat yourself up! It happens to everyone and is never the end of the world. By taking the Cognisess Career Assessment you will most likely avoid career path choices that are unlikely to suit you but otherwise, remember the best learning comes from trial and error.

Wherever your career path journey takes you in the coming years we wish you all the very best!


To view or apply for some of the advertised apprenticeship and traineeship positions available across Australia visit

BUSY At Work provide a range of employment, training and apprenticeship support services. For more information visit

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