Discover your many options beyond high school

The right path: Larni Boroughs, 19, researched different career options before she finished school and is currently studying a photography diploma. Photo: Peter Moffatt
The right path: Larni Boroughs, 19, researched different career options before she finished school and is currently studying a photography diploma. Photo: Peter Moffatt

Final exams place a lot of pressure on teenagers, leaving many feeling that failing to achieve top marks means failing the next step in their learning life.

But, there is such a thing as life after school - no matter your marks or what you want to do.

University entrance expectations can be high; however, some school leavers may not realise many careers can be pursued outside of tertiary study.

There are so many options out there; I never felt the pressure to do something I didn't want to do.

Larni Boroughs, photography student

With an abundance of traineeships, apprenticeships, TAFE, short and long courses and even a gap year, it's worth giving some thought to all the options.

Many school leavers opt for a gap year, taking time out to give their future some more thought or just taking a hard-earned breather from years of study.

This is a good option rather than heading blindly into tertiary training and getting caught up doing something you don't enjoy.

Bridging and preparation courses are also a good option, providing a taste of something you may think you'd enjoy as a career without the big commitment.

For 19-year-old Larni Boroughs, fulfilling her career goals has been a step-by-step process since finishing school. After completing a Certificate II Photography course during her final year in 2020, Larni had direction but didn't want to rush straight into university.

Instead, she worked for six months before starting TAFE in a mid-year intake to complete a Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging.

"At school, I decided that I wanted to pursue photography and design, but first I wanted to get a bit of money behind me and take a break from learning," she said.

"That gave me time to work out that I want to study design at university eventually, but I also want to have photography as a skill that I can fall back on if I need to.

"There are so many options out there; I never felt the pressure to do something I didn't want to do."

On-the-job traineeships are becoming increasingly popular for school leavers, with many businesses supporting students through nationally recognised courses to keep them on as employees.

This option is great for school leavers looking for a career in logistics, trade labour, care assistance and early childhood.

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