Life after school

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Preparing school leavers for the big wide world beyond

So, you’re nearly there and now it’s time to help your school leaver to step out into the big wide world beyond. Chances are you’ve overcome many hurdles together along the way. Perhaps struggling to meet the high cost of living and education in today’s world, through periods of unemployment, trying to overcome bad debt or needing to get by on benefits. So no doubt your teen already knows a thing or two about how hard life can be.

What can you do to help give your kids the best opportunities possible as they leave school?

Put them to work!

As soon as your teen is old enough, encourage them to get a casual after school or weekend job.

  • This provides them with valuable skills and experience for after they finish school, and gets them into the habit and routine of work.
  • Fields such as retail and hospitality offer teens lots of good casual work opportunities that will give them valuable skills including
    • customer service
    • cash handling
    • having to follow policies and procedures
    • adhere to uniform or dress standards and manage their shifts around other commitments including school work, sport and socialising.
  • Even if it’s informal work like babysitting, lawn mowing, or a newspaper delivery round, having a job teaches your teen about responsibility, and helps ensure that getting their first full time job after school isn’t too big a shock to the system!
  • Casual work also earns your teen some valuable pocket money of their own, helping them to learn about managing their own money and expenses, and taking some pressure off your own tight budget.

Follow their passion

There’s some great advice and tools available to help parents understand the ways they can help their teen finish school and start out on the right foot.

  • Encourage your teen to explore their interests for potential work and career opportunities. For example, Sports enthusiasts could turn their love of sport into a career. They might take on some casual work coaching a junior team, and could apply for a school-based sports traineeship to get their sporting career off to a flying start!
  • The MyFuture website helps teens discover their strengths and find the right career path. By identifying their interests, exploring different occupations, industries, case studies and training and education options, it helps build a plan for those who might be feeling a little lost with it all!
  • Teens who know what they want and are keen to get started asap might consider a school-based apprenticeship. This means they start part time work and on the job training while completing their high school education – the best of both worlds!

Need help deciding what direction to take?

  • Most schools provide counselling options to help students, including a careers advisor, learning support, transition advisor and year coordinator. Encourage your teen to use these services, or get in touch with them yourself.
  • Get your teen to take the government Job Outlook’s career quiz to help uncover where their true interests and best career opportunities may lie.
  • Teens can also use Job Outlook to research information on hundreds of different jobs, to help them decide on what direction might be right for them.
  • Each State and Territory’s education service provides a careers advisory service for students, so jump online to check these out for help and guidance.

Further education and training

So, your teen has worked out what they’re interested in doing after school but is unsure about what further learning options are out there?

  • The MySkills website lets them explore courses by industry and state, and has lots of great info including the skills that are most in demand, expected salary for each job type, and some interesting case studies.

Think your teen needs some help with it all?

  • Check out Youth Connect – working in partnership with industry, they can give young people the skills and knowledge they need as they develop a plan through the last years of high school, potential further learning and employment.
  • Youth Connect’s help can include a Student Transition Education Program that provides guidance on writing their resume and job application, interview skills, work experience and learning.

What about paying for it all?

  • The government’s Youth Allowance benefit payment is for young people aged 16 to 24 years who are studying full time, undertaking a full time Australian Apprenticeship, training, looking for work or sick.
  • There’s also other support available for young people who are leaving school or wanting to become independent.

Staying safe

Putting aside for a moment your desire to help your teen with their further education, training and work – of course the most important part of finishing school for them is the PARTY! Help them to stay safe with some handy hints and tips from the Turning18 website.