This is a tough time for those school leavers (or close to leaving school) in Year 10, 11 and 12 grappling with ‘what am I going to do after graduation?’.

For those parents whose own employment is not secure, it’s not easy to reassure and prepare their school leavers for interviews and career decisions when the world is in such flux.

As you know, it’s difficult to solve a problem if you don’t know what the issues are. So… we flat out asked our teenage school leavers.

What are you most worried out after graduation?

Here’s what we found out.

School Leavers Biggest Concerns About Going Into The Big Wide World

1. University:

  • I have planned to go to university, what if I select the wrong degree, that will put be way behind everyone else in my career if I change midstream.
  • What if my first choice becomes redundant as careers have changed so much during 2019, how do I know there will still be a career path?

2. Apprenticeships:

  • Apprenticeships are going to be more popular than ever, what if I cannot get one?
  • What is the best apprenticeship to choose to ensure I have a job in the future?

3. Full Time – Entry Level Jobs

  • I have no idea what expect during a job interview?
  • How do I sell myselfand stand out from all the other applicants?
  • How do I show an employer what I am capable of it I have never had a job?

What You Can Do To Help Teenagers Moving from School to Work

It’s a good idea to work with what we know is happening with employment trends right now.

Look closely at what we call ‘future proofed’ industries/careers to waylay fears around job security and degree selection.

Here are some that have shown to be Future Proof Industries:

  • Data driven careers
  • The tech industry, digital and e-commerce
  • Education and Learning
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Essential Services such as Food Preparation and Packaging, Healthcare and Power, Gas and Telco’s
  • Emergency Services
  • Local and Federal Government
  • Trade Services, Construction etc
  • Accounting and Finance

But why select one path? Adding a Micro Credential to your degree course provides you with more options.  To quote a famous billionaire “create multiple streams of income”.

We also know that school leavers in 2019 – 2020 will most likely have only one career path. They could have around 17 jobs and 5 different careers. So setting them up now for diversity in training and qualifications is a proactive step.

Apprenticeships will be really popular. These have always been highly sought after by school leavers, so start connecting and building relationships with those employers now.  Volunteer as a weekend labourer or go and seek a mentor from within the industry.  Creating that personal relationship will give you a leg up when the time comes to select an apprentice.

Nobody likes to ‘sell themselves’. It makes you feel like a complete Muppet and in an interview, just adds stress.  I don’t advocate it. I do however advocate heading into any interview fully prepared, with the facts and proof of your ability.  Knowing who you are and being able to talk about yourself is key to having the confidence to perform.

A great place to start pulling that information together is by completing some personality profiles. If you complete a few of them, you will see trends emerge around who you are and what motivates you, knowing that is a powerful tool when heading into any interview.

A few Personality Profile Surveys you might like to try are:

My aim with this article is to reassure you as parents, that there are things you can do to waylay the fears of your school leavers.

Now, you might be thinking, it’s tough to give that advice to your own child, cos you are just ‘mum’. I 100% agree, it is tough and you are not alone. We know first hand that our kids won’t take that advice from us either and we interview experts!

But hang in there, persevere and your school leavers will flourish in the big world.

What advice would you give to school leavers? Tell us in the comments below.

  • It is hard. If you practice interviews this helps


  • Get further education at TAFE or uni to make employment easier now and for the rest of your working life


  • I would have said these are all normal concerns that every student graduating has, however, the current situation does make it way more real for these kids. Those going to university will mostly always get a job, besides, they have on average 4 years to work on their degrees. Hopefully everything is back to normal by then and jobs will once again become available. All industries that have currently closed down will reopen in time.

    • These are abnormal times for sure and we are finding the fears are heightened right now for good reason. Jobs will reopen in time and in the interim we want to do all that we can to ensure the senior students hit the job market with a sense of optimism and prepared to succeed. Here to help if you or your family and friends have school leavers who would like some support. Thanks so much for your comments. Kirsty Anne Ferguson


  • I know so many school leavers who have no idea what they want to do. So take your time. Try new and different things. Be prepared to do anything. You’re working a long time, but try and find something you love.

    • So true! they will have many jobs on the journey of discovery that is their career. Getting in and trying different role is great way to find out what it is that really moves you work wise. Our role is to ensure they have the real world skills or tools to actually compete at interviews as they will be highly contested in 2020-2021. Thanks so much for your comments http://www.kirstyanneferguson.com


  • It is a difficult stage of life but an exciting one too. I find the trickiest thing for my child in year 11 is that he has no idea what he wants to do after year 12 or what courses to apply for.

    • That is so difficult, and many students have no idea. But they don’t have to make a decision about a lifelong career, they just have to be ready to take on any opportunity that comes their way. That is one of the things we do with them in our program High School To Hireable, ensure they know how to talk about themselves and what they have to offer. By starting any job they will learn so much about who they are and often that points them in a certain direction. Also by taking a variety of the simply free personality tests it often highlights what motivates them and help parents to guide them in what to try. Nothing is forever, so right now… we focus on giving them sound interview skills and confidence.. the rest will follow, thanks so much for your comments, so apt. Kirsty Anne Ferguson


  • They need to believe in themselves and promise they will always do their best no matter what they do. My eldest wanted to be a farm manager but instead took up shearing. Two years later he’s a fully qualified electrician. Who would have thought that could happen. His brother wanted to be a journalist and he is now a proof reader working for himself.

    • Hi Tessie, living proof that you just have to start and you don’t always need to know the end gaol. Funny, I wanted to be a journalist as well but I would have hated it in it’s current form, instead I am an author who tells stories to connect people and an interview coach to help others prepare for success. Good on your two for going after what they wanted… Take care, Kirsty Anne Ferguson


  • My daughter has dreamed of studying Zoology since she was in primary school. Now that she is in Year 12, she doesn’t want to change her plans just because Covid-19 came along. Even if it’s risky, both my husband and I think she should follow her dreams and do what she loves.

    • If she knows what she wants then, good on her and go for it! Some courses / roles are super highly contested but it is not always those with the very highest grades who get the opportunities, I have found it is those who prepare well, know themselves well and can articulate what they can achieve who often grab the opportunity. That’s pretty much what we teach them do, be able to articulate that in an interview situation. Love that she is not letting the ‘it’s too hard’ naysayers put her off. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Kirsty Anne Ferguson

      • And thanks so much to you for sharing your view.
        It’s not always easy to be a parent. We face a lot of struggles as our children grow. But we want the best for them. And we want them happy and resilient. And being flexible in this world is another great quality, that can become very useful.


  • I think they should believe them self more about what they can.

    • I agree Shanika, one of the things we teach them is how to value themselves and to gain confidence from self knowledge. Thanks for your comment. Kirsty Anne Ferguson


  • I remember the stress after leaving school myself. I would advise to not be so hard on yourself, just try your best. Your have your whole life ahead of you to decide what you want to do and how you are going to do it. Just keep actively learning life experiences in as many ways as you can.

    • Well said, we are hearing directly that teens are seeing their parents struggle during COVID and many have lost jobs and they are wondering how hard it will be for them. Something we address in our free Schools Workshops.


  • It can be quite hard to choose even a direction and the subjects at that age. I remember we had those personality profile surveys as well when we were young and I found the results totally confusing. My 15yr old did recently such a survey and I advised her not to go with it; it simply wasn’t her. I think more important than anything else is to relax and believe in what you can and a career is something you can change.

    • A career is something that you can change totally agree. The profiles can be confusing sometimes, you are right but they are just a guide to what motivates a person. Getting into the job market is the biggest fear right now, so they need tools to know how to navigate those pesky interviews. Wishing your daughter success in all things.


  • Follow your dreams…not what your parents wants

    • Parents are there to guide and advise but you are right, you must be true to yourself and anything that you decide, pursue it with relish.


  • Your path is your path. Further education is but one ingredient to a recipe and a springboard to more options but not the be all and end all.

    • So true! In fact 4 out of 10 high school students do not enroll in further education. Super important that those school leavers know how to smash out their job interviews, thanks for your comment. Take care.


  • It is an exciting and also scary time, as long as they have support they can hopefully be guided in the right direction and if they choose wrong at first they can always switch to something else.

    • That often happens, in fact school leavers are going to have around 5 career paths in their lives. As parents and educators it’s our place to ensure they have the tools and preparation to do that. Stay well. Kirsty Anne Ferguson


  • What you choose to do now wont be the biggest thing in your life. We end up having so many different jobs, so dont stress. Do what you enjoy!

    • Yep, highly likely it won’t be your final destination. Just getting into the workforce post COVID will be tough so something to plan for. Thanks for your comment and here’s to the world reopening with new opportunities, Kirsty Anne Ferguson – Interview Coach


  • Take the time to find something you truly enjoy doing, there is endless options

    • Trial and error is true, and if you start something and find it is not for you, try something else.


Post a comment
Like Facebook page

LIKE MoM on Facebook

Please enter your comment below
Would you like to include a photo?
No picture uploaded yet.
Please wait to see your image preview here before hitting the submit button.
Your MoM account

Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your comment and join MoM:

You May Like


Looks like this may be blocked by you browser or content filtering.

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating