Home' VCE Expo : April 2010 Contents NATAGE S004
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THE AGE • MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2010
THIS is it -- the decision that is going to affect
the rest of your life. At least that's what it feels
like when you are choosing subjects for year
12 and thinking about career options. But is it
While the media focus is usually on the high
achievers who have a definite goal in mind,
such as medicine or law, most students are in
the middle, and, frankly, many are in a muddle
about what they want to do.
Sometimes, it just feels too soon to make
such an important decision -- and that's OK, ac-
cording to Professor Pip Pattison, pro-vice chan-
cellor (learning and teaching) at Melbourne
"I think that one of the most important
things to think about is that this is not neces-
sarily an end-determining choice. They should
really be thinking about what they enjoy doing,
and what interests them. Whatever they ulti-
mately want to do -- there are multiple pathways
to getting there," she advises.
"If you're thinking about a career that re-
quires some specific disciplinary study, like be-
ing a musician, it would be a bit crazy not to do
music, but most careers are not like that. One of
the purposes of university is an education, and
education is really about developing skills that
are going to be useful in the long term."
Professor Pattison says studies show that
these days, people are likely to change careers
up to seven times in a lifetime.
"There really is a lot more shifting between
different types of work now than was the case
in the past. So setting out to have a single career
in mind is not really how working lives are
Jodie Martin-Blick, manager, Onshore stu-
dent recruitment office at Monash University,
says that, these days, students are spoilt for
choice, and that's part of the problem. "There
are so many options out there it can be a little
It helps to remember that all these options
mean that if you don't get your first choice,
there are usually lots of other ways of getting
where you want to go. And that's what you need
to be asking about, she says.
That said how do you start making a choice?
Apart from focusing on what you enjoy, your
next thought should be your career goal. Is it
personal fulfilment, helping others, developing
your creativity or ensuring financial security?
Understanding this will help you make the
Thirdly, you need to do a bit of self-assess-
ment. Are you a person who enjoys working
in teams with other people, or someone who
prefers to work alone? Are you a big picture per-
son, or someone who loves delving into detail?
Do you like working indoors or outdoors? Do
you prefer practical work to theoretical?
One of the best ways of finding out about a
career is to take advantage of the pre-appren-
ticeship and skills programs offered at school
through VET (Vocational education training)
or VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied
"So what do you want
to do?" It's the question
that everyone asks
when you enter VCE,
and for which few have
a definite answer. Jane
Cafarella talks to some
experts with tips to help
■ Think about your career goals. What do you want to achieve?
Personal fulfilment? Financial security? Creative freedom?
What is important to you?
■ What sort of person are you? Do you like working with other people, or
do you prefer to go it alone? Do you like thinking about the details, or do
you prefer the big picture? Do want to work inside or outdoors?
Do you prefer practical work to theoretical?
■ Don't panic. People change careers many times in their lifetime, so your
first career probably won't be your last. If it doesn't work out, there are
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