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Succeeding in the future world of work

Supported by the Haileybury Careers team, the Senior school years are a time to explore potential career pathways and opportunities.

NEWS 31 May 2023

Before they retire, today’s young generation may have more than 20 jobs across five different careers or industries – and many of those careers don’t even exist yet.

As the world of work rapidly evolves, students in the senior years of school can explore career possibilities that spark their curiosity, take opportunities to gain work experience, and speak with advisors who can help them map a pathway.

Haileybury’s comprehensive careers program recently included a Future Ready Festival for Senior School students. The event brought together industry experts and university representatives who highlighted the skills and knowledge students will need to succeed in the 21st century.

From banking and finance, music, engineering and fashion to architecture, education and the food industry, the festival gave insights into diverse careers. Professor Ben Hamer, a certified futurist and global expert on the future of work, also discussed how students can prepare for successful working lives.

Key takeaways from the event were:

  • In addition to qualifications, soft skills or human skills like communication, collaboration, problem-solving and creative and critical thinking are in high demand
  • It’s important for young people to connect interests and things they are curious about with career planning – focus on your passions
  • A career does not equal your identity and value, so young people should focus on what they like doing – not on a job title.

A focus on careers begins in Year 10 at Haileybury, with career profiling identifying a student’s strengths and aptitudes. It’s a starting point for discussion and for planning broad goals, says Catherine Johnston, Haileybury’s Coordinator Careers & Pathways.

“Sometimes the information confirms what students were thinking – at other times, they are surprised by the results. Our advice to students is to always keep options open, to be curious about what is possible and to follow their interests,” says Catherine.

“We encourage students to be aspirational and to have multiple plans that work towards the same goal. This makes it easier at the end of Year 12 to choose which plan to implement.”

Experience counts

Work experience is an important part of exploring potential careers and more than 500 students are supported to find work experience placements in the Year 10 work experience program each year. An increasing number of schools have abandoned work experience, however Haileybury sees it as important in helping young people gain a clearer idea of life after school.

Jasmine Sien, Work Experience Coordinator, supports students to arrange and complete work experience in diverse workplaces, including hospitals, interior design studios, schools, construction companies and even with Members of Parliament.

“Work experience gives students a chance to try a workplace, increase their understanding of a particular job and of themselves and their workplace preferences,” says Jasmine.

“This is invaluable at a time when students are making important decisions about subjects and future study and work options. Work experience also gives students a chance to grow in confidence and maturity and can also boost their chances of finding part-time employment.”

Virtual experience and real life experience

Last year, Haileybury Senior School student, Jasmine Vanhoorn, won a national prize after competing in a Virtual Work Experience Program. Jasmine developed a detailed campaign to promote an active water drink and her ideas, creativity and careful planning were praised by the judging panel.

“I took inspiration from the Coca Cola ‘Say Yes to No Sugar’ launch and my campaign included interactive sporting activity and complimentary merchandise" Says Jasmine who is currently in Year 11.

“Entering the competition has meant I’ve gained further insight into the skills needed for event management, such as organising things that are sometimes less obvious at an event, like working out when a catering team should enter and leave, for example”
Jasmine Vanhoorn (Year 11)

The application process and campaign development gave Jasmine some value skills and she won $2,000 in prizes after winning the Victorian and national stages of the competition. After graduating, Jasmine hopes to study Commerce and Law.

As well as opportunities like the virtual work experience program, Haileybury also runs presentations by recent Old Haileyburians who are in the first few years of their professional careers and who share their insights about work.

“Students feel reassured that those graduates might have experienced similar doubts and concerns about their future, but everything eventually falls into place. They realise it’s OK not to have a definitive map but to make decisions at each step, based on improving yourself and learning more about an area that captures your interest and curiosity,” says Catherine.

What can parents do to help?

  • Encourage your child to choose subjects and pathways they are genuinely interested in.
  • Accompany them to university Open Days and other similar events to maximise your child’s exposure to the different options available to them.
  • Connect with the Careers & Pathways team at school to ask for advice and information.
  • Encourage your child to maintain a flexible mindset.
  • Talk about career pathways at home and encourage your child to connect with family and friends to hear about their career pathways.
  • Remember that your child may not have a clear idea on what they want to do in the future and that’s OK. Give them time and space to think things through.