Why I chose to go straight to work instead of university

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This year I am doing an IT apprenticeship with the Australian Government Public Service. This is a big leap for me as I only finished year 12 last year and already I am doing full-time work. Here is why I decided to go straight into work instead of going to university after high school.

For years 11 and 12 I decided to do an accredited package. This means that I did not get an ATAR or do the AST/HSC. With selecting this package choice I was able to join the Australian School Based Apprentice (ASBA) program doing an apprenticeship in IT. Without the support of my school I would not have heard of the IT ASBA program opening and I would not have the job that I have now.

I heard about the IT ASBA program by reading my school’s newsletter. From there I set up a meeting with my career advisor. She was very helpful and gave me lots of advice. She suggested that it would be a good fit for me as I have an interest in digital media. She also said that I would gain different experiences and develop new skills.

At first I was a bit nervous to be starting a new job in the Australian Public Service as well as balancing my year 12 studies. But with the support of my school and colleagues at work I was able to have a successful year 12.

 How did I get my job this year?

While doing the ASBA program last year I was told about a digital apprenticeship program with the Australian Government starting this year. I applied for it because it was a great opportunity for me to gain further experience and learn new skills.

I already have a foot in the door from doing the ASBA program. I had experience with apprenticeships and as a result this gave me the skills needed to stand out to employers. Once my application was accepted I went to an interview. Luckily, I was rated as suitable and got the job!

Someone is filling in an application on a clipboard.

Pros and Cons

Like most opportunities in life, this new job did come with pros and cons. I often get asked the question: why did you choose to go straight into work instead of going to university? This is a complicated question for me. But after weighing up the pros and cons I made the decision to go into full-time work.

I already had a good understanding of what working full-time would be like from my experience last year. By going straight into full-time work I knew that I would be able to build on that experience. I wanted that firsthand knowledge of how a workplace operates, and to gain more confidence and independence and life experience.

I also wanted to earn money while learning new skills.

I was worried going straight to work instead of university. I thought that because I wouldn’t be getting a degree I would be less likely to be offered jobs and get into a career.

As I thought about it and asked my friends and family for advice I realised that this was not necessarily true. Instead of a degree, I would be getting experience. This would later prove to employers that I am competent in the workforce and know how to apply myself.

By doing this apprenticeship I hope to understand what I am passionate about and interested in. I will be able to learn about my strengths and weaknesses quickly and have realistic expectations about working life.  

Someone writing on a blackboard. The word cons has been written with an arrow going left. The word pros has been written with an arrow going right.

A bit about my job

This year I will be working in the same team that I was with last year. This is good as I already know what to expect and know everyone in my team. I am working on online engagement and digital media-based projects, like writing for this blog!

I will also be studying, doing a certificate III in IT and digital media. I already have experience in balancing study and work, and it will come in handy this year.

My hopes for the future

I am only young, and at the moment I don’t really know where my future will take me. Although in 5 years I hope that I either have a steady career (hopefully with the same job as I have now) or I am continuing with my studies (or both). I hope that I will still be learning new skills and furthering my experiences within the workforce.

Ultimately, I believe this apprenticeship is the right pathway for me. Everybody has different interests, passions and talents. I am interested in digital media. This apprenticeship will not only allow me to gain the skills I will need for the future, I’ll also get more knowledge and education.

A wide road with years counting up from 2020.

If you are unsure of what you are passionate in or are looking for a full-time job you can visit Job Outlook. You can use the Skills Match Tool to see how your existing skills match up against jobs you’d like to do.

If you would like more information on the ASBA program you can visit the Australian Apprenticeships website.

Good luck!

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