Time’s right

Don’t wait un­til next year to start on your new path, writes Cara Jenkin

The Advertiser - Careers - - Front Page -

START study­ing now to get a head start on your ca­reer and a jump on your com­peti­tors.

Ter­tiary ca­reer ad­vis­ers tell work­ers there is no time like the present to change or fur­ther their ca­reer with fur­ther study.

They say it can ad­van­tage those who are look­ing for work when they com­plete their qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

A mid-year start in­creas­ingly is a pop­u­lar choice for stu­dents in the wake of the new year start or ahead of the tra­di­tional in­take in March.

Fig­ures from higher and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion ad­mis­sion cen­tres show an av­er­age of 15 per cent of stu­dents now start their course in July, com­pared to about 7 per cent in 2002.

Ap­pli­ca­tions are now open or will soon open for a se­mes­ter two start for cour­ses at most univer­sity, TAFE and other train­ing providers across Australia.

DI­RECT AP­PROACH

Kelly Ser­vices’ Global Work­force In­dex, re­leased last month, finds many work­ers are con­tem­plat­ing a ca­reer or job change, with up to 33 per cent of em­ploy­ees fre­quently think­ing about quit­ting their job and 66 per cent in­tend­ing to look for an­other job in the next year.

Only 41 per cent of work­ers say their cur­rent job is pro­vid­ing them with a sense of mean­ing.

Univer­sity of South Australia ca­reer ser­vices unit ca­reers ad­viser Fred­er­ick Stokes-thompson says start­ing midyear does not make much of a dif­fer­ence to the study pro­gram and usu­ally only the or­der that sub­jects are com­pleted changes.

‘‘ Any time that you re­alise you’re on the wrong ca­reer path or change a ca­reer path, it’s al­ways good to de­cide as soon as prac­ti­ca­ble to do that,’’ he says.

‘‘ Ca­reer isn’t about ‘ it’s all work and no play’ – it’s about the work that you do and the play you do as well, the other life ac­tiv­i­ties you do around it.

‘‘ There’s no hard and fast rule as to what you do in your de­gree.’’

He says places of­ten come up in cour­ses mid-year as: STU­DENTS started a course then dropped out when it was not what they thought it was go­ing to be;

DE­MAND for cour­ses may not have been as strong as pre­dicted, leav­ing places which can be filled mid-year; and

SOME in­sti­tu­tions set aside a cer­tain num­ber of places to meet ex­pected in­ter­est midyear.

‘‘ To some ex­tent, there is less of a for­mal start and fin­ish time these days,’’ StokesThomp­son says.

Mid-year ap­pli­cants of­ten are:

STU­DENTS who were un­suc­cess­ful in their first choice to start in March and waited to see if a spot was avail­able mid-year; and

MA­TURE-AGE peo­ple who ap­plied too late for the March in­take and have waited for their next op­por­tu­nity.

Grad­u­ate Ca­reers Australia pol­icy, strat­egy and stake­holder re­la­tions ad­viser Bruce Guthrie says it can be a ‘‘ glass half full or glass half empty’’ view on how a mid-year start af­fects em­ploy­ment out­comes.

‘‘ I would cer­tainly think peo­ple who fin­ish to­wards mid-year, it might give them a slight ad­van­tage,’’ he says. In­sti­tu­tions typ­i­cally are mov­ing away from a tra­di­tional two se­mes­ter year start­ing in March, with var­ied in­take and se­mes­ter dates and sum­mer semesters, Guthrie says. ‘‘ The sec­tor is go­ing through a bit of a shake-out in terms of en­rol­ment and grad­u­a­tion. The start in early March might go by the way­side,’’ he says. ‘‘ We’re see­ing a re­turn to three semesters but the third runs over sum­mer.

‘‘ These changes are to as­sist or speed up the length of time peo­ple spend study­ing so they can start their ca­reers more quickly.’’

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