How your child can explore careers in High School

careers in high school. girl looking at shelf with binders.

Exploring careers in High School is a great way for your child to utilise their time and kick-start their future.

With approximately 20% unemployed young Australians in 2020, gaining skills for careers in high school is very important. Ensuring your child begins engages with careers in high school will ease the transition into the workforce following their education.

The Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services, Luke Howarth MP explains the plan for 2022 is to give young people skills and opportunities following the global pandemic.

How to engage with careers in High School:

The NSW government found the most effective ways for young Australians to engage in the workforce include vocational and workplace training, job search assistance and career guidance and counselling.

Work experience

Work experience is one of the main ways students can engage with careers in high school.

Work experience or ‘Workplace learning’ options are available in most high schools.

How does work experience work?

There are many variations of work placements depending on the high school.

  • Schools need to approve work experience placements

  • Work experience usually takes place in Year 9 or 10

  • Work experience placements are unpaid

  • Work experience usually last 1-2 weeks but can be tailored to your child’s needs or the employer’s needs

How does work experience help?

Finding and participating in one or more work experience placements provides guidance for your child’s future career. Students are exposed to the industry or profession they are considering.

What if my child doesn’t know what to do for work experience?

That’s ok!

If your child is unsure of what they are interested in or how to arrange work experience they can contact their school’s careers advisors.

Schools will have one person dedicated to careers who can assist with finding your child’s interests or local businesses for them.

Gaining an insight into their future career.

If your child already has an idea of what they want to do they can observe a workplace and may even be able to contribute. They can solidify or eliminate different options for their future career.

Work experience allows students to gain necessary professional skills for their resume when applying for their first job.

Gain practical skills

Getting practical skills is a great way for your child to explore careers in high school.

Students can gain practical skills by taking vocation based classes or finding part-time/casual employment.

Part-time or casual employment

Many Australian school students balance their schooling with part-time or casual work commitments. Australia has one of the highest rates of combining work and study across OECD countries.

careers in high school. barista working.

Part-time jobs can instil confidence and independence that your teen can carry out into their future career. This is also a great opportunity to network and establish contacts with adult employers in the future.

Types of jobs for High School students

School-aged students mostly enter the hospitality or retail industry. Some common jobs for school-aged children include:

  • Cashiers

  • Waiter/waitress

  • Front counter staff

  • Sales assistant

  • Receptionist/assistant or administrative roles in the office

  • Babysitting

  • Sports umpiring

When can my child start part-time/casual work?

There is no minimum age limit in Australia, however some states have some restrictions for children under the age of 15. This may include restrictions on hours or the type of work.

Vocational education classes

Some schools offer vocational education training (VET) courses as part of the HSC or final year curriculum options.

The NSW Department of Education reported that students who studied a VET qualification at school:

  • Have a 78% employment rate

  • Earned a median annual starting salary of $56,000.00

In Victoria, changes to senior study have prepared pathways for students to enter the workforce straight away.


Volunteering is a fantastic way for students to get out there and gain some practical skills.

Volunteering in specialised areas allows your child to get a feel for careers in high school.

How to to find volunteering opportunities:

  • Enquiry within the school

  • Speak to a careers advisor

  • Speak to relevant school staff

  • Join school extracurricular activities or clubs

  • Build networks and ask contacts

  • Join Facebook groups in your city

Get an idea early on

A great way for your child to gain ideas for exploring careers in high school is to determine potential career paths they will pursue.

From their your child can:

From here your child will develop a portfolio, resume and fundamental skills before leaving school.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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