Career pathways after school

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

Thinking about your life after secondary school can be overwhelming, but there is support available to help you choose a career pathway.

Choices include starting an apprenticeship, continuing with further study, finding work, starting a business or even taking a gap year.

Remember, you can move between any or all of these career pathway options.  You are not restricted to one occupation or education level. Many people return to study to upgrade their qualifications or change industries completely during their adult life.

There are many pathways from school that can lead to a rewarding career. After school young people can:

  • do an apprenticeship
  • continue with further education and training either through vocational and technical education or university
  • find work
  • take a gap year and do community work and/or travel
  • start a small business.

There are so many options that it can sometimes be overwhelming, but remember that people can move between pathways and are not restricted to one occupation or education level. Many people now return to study to upgrade their qualifications during their adult lives.

Vocational Education and Training

Vocational Education and Training is directly job related and competency based. These courses are good for people who like study that is practical and hands on.

Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) provides hands on opportunities for young people while they are still at school. Programs provide opportunities and pathways for senior secondary students (Years 10 to 12).

VET in Schools programs are typically delivered through partnership between schools, industry and training providers, and often include opportunities for students to participate in workplace learning.

For further information, see VET in Schools

School Based Apprenticeships allow students to combine study and employment and begin their Apprenticeship while they are still at school, and they earn a wage as they work and study. Students can do their Victorian Certificate of Education or the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning while undertaking their School Based Apprenticeship. This means they spend some time at school and some in the workplace.

For more information on VET in Schools or School Based Apprenticeships you can talk to the careers adviser or VET coordinator at your child’s school, or visit the web sites listed below:


About 30 percent of students go direct to university from school. There are however alternative pathways by transferring from recognised VET studies or undertaking bridging or foundation programs to help prepare students for university courses.

In considering university it is important to explore the university and course requirements including prerequisite Year 11 and 12 subjects. Young people need to consider the costs of university study and the costs of living, possibly away from home. They should also explore the opportunities for work after graduation.


A paid job brings an income, freedom and the chance to learn and do new things. Getting a first job is not always easy, and people often have to apply for a number of jobs before they are successful.

  • Remember that about 80 percent of jobs are never formally advertised. It is important to ‘access your allies’ and use any networks (family and friends) you may have to find out about work opportunities.
  • Get someone else to check your job applications and resumes.
  • Practice interview techniques.
  • You may not succeed initially, but try to remain positive.

Community and volunteer work

Volunteer work is an excellent way to make a contribution to the community, experience new challenges and find out about the world of work. Information about volunteer experiences can be included on resumes and may help in finding paid employment.

Starting a business

Starting a business is an option to consider. Although experience and qualifications can be helpful in starting a business, they are not essential. There are a number of programs aimed at helping young people build their enterprise skills and develop innovative ideas. Some of these are offered at school and some are offered outside of school.

For more information ask the careers coordinator or Business Studies teachers at your school, or see:

Skills needed

Employers are interested in what they call employability skills, which are skills required to function in a wide variety of life and work settings. They are not technical skills, but are skills that allow people to do their jobs well and include:

  • communication
  • teamwork
  • problem solving
  • initiative and enterprise
  • planning and organisation
  • self management
  • learning
  • technology.

Future job markets

In planning a career consider which skills will be in demand in the future. Currently there are shortages in areas requiring technical and trade skills such as electricians, bricklayers, carpenters, chefs and more. There are also shortages in nursing, accounting and health.

Jobsearch can provide useful information for Australia. Be sure to check how long it will take you to qualify in your chosen area, to see if the skill shortage is still predicted for that time frame.

Exploring occupations - browse jobs and check important information such as average pay and occupations in demand.

Getting a job

In career programs conducted at schools, as well as learning about themselves and the world of work, young people will learn skills they need in seeking work such as:

  • applying for jobs
  • writing resumes
  • interview skills
  • presentation skills.

There are many services in place to help young people explore education and training options and find suitable work. At school, Careers and Managed Individual Pathways (MIPS) Coordinators, Year Level Coordinators and Subject Coordinators can help. Outside school there are many options for assistance.

Youth Central

For young Victorians, the Jobs & Careers section of Youth Central includes detailed information to assist in finding work, applying for jobs, starting a business and employment rights and responsibilities. Targetted information for young people in regional Victoria is also available.

  • Career profiles
  • Finding jobs​ - jobs online, apprenticeships, trainees, volunteering, work experience, part-time work, overseas employment, scams, regional jos, graduates, skills in demand and misleading job ads
  • Applying for jobs - resumes, cover letters, interviews, stand out from the pack, online applications and assessment centres
  • Starting your own business​ - developing your business idea, setting up a business, grants and case studies
  • Employment rights​ - salary, wages, employee rights, contracts and quitting, casual work, WorkCover, Workplace violence, relevant organisations, employee rights for under 15 and WorkChoices