"You are never to old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream."

~ C. S. Lewis ~

In 2016, census data revealed that 56 per cent of Australians aged 15 years and over possessed a post-school qualification. This figure had increased significantly from the 46 per cent recorded in 2006.

However, approximately one in every five students drop out of tertiary courses before they graduate. Analysts identify multiple reasons for the dropout rate — apart from a change in interests, realising their course is not what they thought it would be is one of the most common.

Maintaining the desire to learn once you start feeling like you're in the wrong field is incredibly difficult. While you can review the positives and negatives if you want to, at the end of the day why would you waste your time if you know this specific pathway is not where you want to head?

A much better idea is to really examine all your options well before you have to make any decisions, then when it's time to apply you can be more confident in the knowledge you have chosen the best career path for you.

On the other hand, what if you're already a long way into your course, and enjoying all the learning opportunities, but have no idea or plans detailing what you are actually going to do with your degree or certificate when you've graduated?

In both cases, Job Outlook is a useful website for those are uncertain about their career choice or who need guidance when it comes to being able to accurately identify their skills and match them up with an occupation.

As part of our series dealing with vocational development and ways to help you plan your career, we'll be taking a look at Job Outlook and its associated suite of websites as another of the useful online career resources Australians have easy access to.

How Do I Choose the Best Career Path for Me?

Even as early as Year 9, it's a good idea to start thinking about your future. We're not suggesting you start planning your career in intricate detail but just give a little thought to the subject choices you will be asked to make, with the knowledge that they can, and will, greatly affect your future options.

Year 11 and 12 students are made patently aware of the effects of poor subject choice or results. Although there are career counsellors available in all schools, they all have their areas of specialisation and, while they want to help and will do everything they can to do so, not all of them have access to the same information or the same level of background knowledge.

What can I do after graduation?
Before you graduate, you'll need to start making important decisions about your future career | Source: Pixabay - Image by McElspeth

As a Year 10 student, I was lucky to receive wonderful advice to help me with my subject selection, future goals and career planning. However, my friend, who was in a different class, did not have the same opportunities. The thing is, by the time you start Year 11, it's assumed you'll know what you're doing. Reality check — it rarely happens this way.

What student services are available these days to help navigate this new pathway?

Prior to transitioning to Year 11, students are offered one-on-one advice and counselling to help them set academic goals for the next two years with a view to maximising their options and opportunities post-school. While the academic advisors support students the best way they can, they do not know every specific degree or occupation requirement.

This is where online services, such as Job Outlook and its partner sites, come in. The sole purpose of the site is to provide relevant, up-to-date information about career options for people at any stage of their journey — from right at the start to those making a complete change.

The primary goal of the service is to maintain accurate information on the employment sector in Australia. In doing so, the site provides:

  • up-to-date information about employment prospects
  • a snapshot of industry careers that are likely to be in demand in the next 5 years
  • guidance about the skills, abilities and knowledge people need to plan for, secure and keep their employment
  • links to position vacancies and relevant courses.

Job Outlook does not provide individualised advice but is intended to be a resource used in conjunction with professional career guidance and personal development.

Find out about the Your Career website.

Who is Job Outlook for and What are the Main Services?

Job Outlook is maintained by the Australian Government's National Skills Commission. The website's main role is to provide information about Australian labour market trends and employment projections and is designed for secondary school students, university students, graduates and other people who are searching for specific career-related information.

Services include:

  • career quiz
  • skills match quiz
  • detailed exploration of careers, with information on salary, tasks and educational requisites
  • 'explore Australia' to pinpoint demand near where you live
  • future outlook information on potential growth in different sectors
  • industry information
  • specific job overviews with information on pathways, prospects, skills, knowledge and work environment
  • links to vacancies through Jobactive.

How Can Job Outlook Help Me?

As a one-stop-shop for online careers advice, the site can be used in multiple ways.

Locate potential work experience opportunities

One of the most effective ways to know if a particular occupation or field is going to be right for you is to experience it. Not all sectors offer work experience opportunities, but with a little research and planning, you can focus on relevant skills development in other fields.

Locate the field you are thinking about on the website, then review the 'you may also like' section. For example, if you're considering landscape architecture, alternatives include garden labourers and nursery hands — both much easier areas in which to get some hands-on experience.

Once you have a list of alternatives, you can find part-time work, take a gap year and volunteer, work abroad or start your own small business. It doesn't matter, as long as you're learning.

Where can I get work experience?
Look for opportunities to volunteer to gain work experience, such as finding out about archaeology by volunteering on a dig | Source: Pixabay - Image by JamesDeMers

Specific career information

Perhaps you've always had a desire to be a teacher, love working with plants or even see yourself as a professional writer. It's great to have goals when it comes to your future. But, do you really know what these jobs involve in the day-to-day sense, or what you'll have to do to get the right qualifications?

Attending a careers expo, talking to a careers counsellor or doing work experience can give you a lot of insight but for all the specific details in one spot, Job Outlook is the best place to look.

Find your job in the A-Z list, then search for the specific knowledge you need, whether it be the prerequisite skills and knowledge, the education pathways (many of which include a comparison of degrees and courses offered at different institutions) or the future outlook. And don't forget to open your mind to the alternatives that are listed as well.

The earlier to start looking, the easier it will be when it comes time to start planning your next move.

If you need more guidance, consider getting an academic appraisal.

Enrolment applications

Different careers have different educational requirements; not every job needs a university degree. Check Job Outlook to find out what further study you will need to do and then click on the links to find more information, which may include:

  • websites where you can explore and compare different tertiary institutions
  • websites which allow you to search for and compare courses throughout Australia
  • links to registration boards or associations relevant to the career type.

If you need more information on applying to uni, or specific details about student loans and finance, course selection or university life, check out our article on UAC.

How do I enrol in university?
Attending university, such as the University of Adelaide, is the ultimate reward at the end of your compulsory schooling and the start of the next stage of your life | Source: VisualHunt - image by denisbin

If you're still confused or unsure what path to follow, perhaps consider career coaching from a private tutor on Superprof. A good career coach will help you:

  • navigate career options
  • prepare resumes and cover letters
  • fill in applications
  • apply for jobs
  • develop interview skills
  • find networking events.

The Superprof platform features tutors for every subject you can think of, as well as life coaches and career tutors. Tutorials can be face-to-face, online or in small groups.

  • Face-to-face tutoring may appear expensive but is actually quite cost-effective as it is just you and your tutor. Sessions are all about you and your needs.
  • Online tutoring is almost identical to a face-to-face session, except it's done online. It's just you and your tutor, so you get all the attention. An added bonus is a slight reduction in cost as there is no travel time involved, and being online means you and your tutor don't need to live in the same town, or even the same country.
  • Group tutoring, which can be accessed face-to-face or online, may appear to be the cheapest because you share the cost with the other students. However, as in a class situation, you cannot expect the tutor's focus to be on you all the time. It is a great way to network and learn from other students though.

Make sure you consider your goals, your budget and your preferred learning style before engaging a tutor.

Need a Personal development teacher?

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Kellie is an editor, a children's writer, blogger and a teacher. Any remaining time she has is spent on a dragon boat.