The Good Schools Guide July 2022 Blog featured the following article written by our Caulfield Grammar School Heads of Careers on guiding our students to navigate and map their own futures.

By Janelle Hingmann (Wheelers Hill Campus) & Debbie-Lee Bienert (Caulfield Campus), Heads of Careers

Resilience, adaptability and agility are the biggest in-demand skills post pandemic according to recent reporting and forecasts. There is no doubt that the pandemic has reinforced the importance of being adaptable and willing to pivot or learn new skills.  

Over the past couple of years, our Caulfield Grammar Careers team has continued to support and guide our students to make informed decisions about their future study and career options in these more complex times.   

A large focus of our role is to help students identify their key skills, personal strengths, passions and interests – along with ongoing guidance as students embrace change and celebrate their success in being truly adaptable and independent lifelong learners.  

As change and flexibility continue to dominate the world, our students will continue to explore their passions, develop new skills, gain micro-credentials and acquire knowledge that will assist them in planning for their future aspirations.  

Students are engaged in a broad range of support initiatives – among them comprehensive careers assessments, one-on-one careers counselling sessions, subject selection fairs, Careers Expos, Industry breakfasts, online seminars and both library-based and online careers tools and resources.  

1:1 student careers counselling appointments remain the single most useful experience for students when it comes to determining a future plan for study and/or employment. Discussion is centered around tertiary education and employment options, VTAC, Interstate and International applications and vocational assessments, future careers and subject selection. 

The Morrisby online vocational guidance tests in Year 10 allow our Careers Team to have conversations with students about their strengths, values, personality and work preferences. The test also provides greater clarity and empowerment to students. 

Our annual Career Expos are a valuable experience for our Years 10–12 students, who have conversations with over 40 providers, including universities, TAFE/VET institutions, GAP and exchange organisations, the Australian Defence Force and Victoria Police representatives. 

Students and their families are invited to our annual Subject Selection Fairs to speak with heads of learning areas, alumni and Year 12 students about subject content and areas of interest.   

Parent Career Presentations have been streamed to our senior student parents over the past two years by a Careers Development expert, providing parents with a greater understanding of the rapidly changing employment landscape that students face.   

Our Career Industry Breakfasts, embedded in our careers education program, consist of inspiring panel discussions from Caufield Grammar alumni across a diverse range of fields – from biomedicine to industrial design. Tapping into our incredible alumni network is an invaluable source of insight and inspiration for our students.  

Looking to the Future 

COVID and our current global environment has had a significant impact on career choice these past couple of years. We have seen huge interest from our current graduates in the Health sector, and a slight decrease in Commerce and Business pathways compared to previous years. Students are more focused on environmental and social outcomes and making an impact on communities and the world. There appears to be a shift towards interest in ‘safe’ employment industries – jobs that have strong employability – rather than the financial instability of small businesses. 

Another topic of conversation with students has been the limited opportunity for global travel and study. Students are looking for a different experience from the past couple of years. As a result, we have seen an increase in demand for studying on-campus interstate and GAP year opportunities in places such as UK boarding schools, on cattle stations, or even opportunities with Caulfield Grammar in traineeship programs or on outdoor education programs at Yarra Junction Campus and Northern Territory.  

The goal posts are always shifting, and our role is to guide students in recognising that they will have different priorities at different stages of their life. Not always having clarity is okay. We steer clear of questions like: What do you want to do? Instead, we ask: What are your strengths? What are your interests?  

While technical skills are important, employers are seeking individuals who are collaborative, flexible and self-aware. They are seeking individuals with the ability to continuously learn, unlearn and be adaptable and creative. An important part of our role is empowering Caulfield Grammar students to develop this ‘learning for life’ mindset – to embrace every opportunity, to develop collaboration, communication and self-awareness, and to have the confidence and courage to give everything a go and grow from those experiences.  

As Career Development professionals, we are constantly saying to each other: We have the best job in the world! It is such an honour to have these conversations with our learners as they navigate and map their own futures. We never take for granted the impact we have on the young people in our care and guiding them on the next steps in their life journey.