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Making big life and career decisions can be daunting and we might not always know where to turn for good advice.
Whether you are selecting high school subjects, looking for your first casual job, or wondering what career opportunities are out there - the help of a career adviser is available to you.
We speak to Grace Itzstein, Futures' Facilitator at All Saints' College, about how speaking to a career adviser over the course of your school years can help you shape the future you want for yourself.
Discover your strengths, interests and values
At high-school, career advisers and counsellors guide students to identify career options and help them to set out their preferred pathway.
With decades worth of experience in career counselling for high-school students, Grace believes career advisers can help students make sense of what they're good at, their interests and their personal values - and then offer students objective advice on the options they could be best suited to.
"We listen to students and take on board their interests and previous work experience, to guide them in discovering their dreams without judgement," says Grace.
"There are no wrong choices, just different pathways. You are going to travel along these roads, sometimes forwards, sometimes sideways, and sometimes backwards. But as long as you keep the momentum going forward, that’s all that matters."
While seeking career advice from friends or family may be a preferred option as you feel comfortable with them, it is important to recognise that career advisers are trained to help you discover where your passions lie.
"Our role is to offer ideas, pathways, and courses that match the dreams of students. We want to help them discover what their skill sets are, what they are good at, what they enjoy, and what makes them happy," says Grace.
Understand the world of work
As the world of work continues to change, it is important to seek advice from someone who is trained to point you in the right direction, and provide you with all the information you need to start your journey.
According to Grace, career advisers are constantly developing industry and career insights to provide students with information to help them either succeed in the job search, or upskill in their industry.
"We are informed about current industry employment trends and can act as a source of information for students. Our job is to stay across all the industries to help students understand what jobs in the market are experiencing growth, and which are in decline so they can set themselves up for future success," says Grace.
"We are able to provide you with the confidence to explore career options that you may not have considered, and guide you to settle for an option that suits you best."
Identify options and choices
Making subject selections can be a confronting task for any student, as the process goes beyond simply choosing a subject from a long list of options - subject selections can open up future opportunities.
One of the things that a career adviser is able to help you with during high school is identifying your course options and choices - whether that be your HSC subjects, the university you wish to apply for or other higher education courses you can enrol in after high school - and help you to understand where those choices could take you.
"As a career adviser, we understand that there is a lot of pressure on students when it comes to picking subjects and thinking about how this will affect their future career, so our role is to support students by listening to their story, finding out where their interest lies, what subjects they are good at, and then providing them with options," Grace says.
"We want to help students design a life that they are excited about and happy with."
Grace says it's common for students to wrestle with the question of whether they should continue studying mathematics in their senior years of high school - for example - and a career advisor can help them understand the benefits of choosing particular subjects for their future career.
"We are here to provide students with an understanding of why it's important to do maths, or any subject for that matter. For instance, if you are a student considering studying science, technology, engineering or maths, studying maths during school can set you up for success in understanding higher-level thinking and problem-solving," says Grace.
"Career advisers can help you understand what is expected of you based on the syllabus, can help you find out whether the university course you are hoping to enrol into has mathematics as a prerequisite, and support you by giving you advice based on where you want to go."
Map out your own unique path
A good career adviser will provide you with an objective and supportive ear helping you make your own well-informed decisions.
Grace acknowledges that everyone faces their own challenges when it comes to making career decisions, but how they choose to plan out their future depends on the individual. She encourages students to recognise that career advisers are here to give advice, and help students develop life-long skills.
"A lot of students dismiss the need to plan ahead, but a good career adviser can engage these students with questions. By the time these students leave a career adviser's office, they have a long list of ideas that they could possibly pursue," says Grace.
"There are no wrong choices, just different pathways. You are going to travel along these roads, sometimes forwards, sometimes sideways and sometimes backwards. But as long as you keep the momentum going forward, that's all that matters."