A new program at Warrnambool College hopes to help its senior students make more informed choices about their future career paths.
Students in year 11 and 12 can attend information sessions with former students who have gone on to pursue different trade based or tertiary studies and gained employment in their chosen field.
Danili Dwyer, who completed year 12 at the college in 2010, is working as an occupational therapist at Moyne Health Services and MPower in Warrnambool and spoke to a group of 28 students on Tuesday.
Upcoming guests include a law student, town planner, a plumber who runs his own business, a dietitian and medical student.
Miss Dwyer shared her experience of studying a bachelor of Health Sciences with a Masters of Occupational Therapy at La Trobe Bundoora and living on campus at Glenn College.
She spoke of her homesickness and the benefits of living on residence with others from the country. “At college everyone’s the same and doesn’t know anyone so that’s a nice environment to go into. Everyone just wants to make friends and are so friendly. It makes it really easy to transition away from home. It was good to have that support.”
The 25-year-old also encouraged them to have a gap year if they weren’t ready to move away from home and to apply for scholarships and leadership roles at college to save money and gain experience.
Miss Dwyer said the more students knew about their future options the better. “I always hated that people didn’t get to tell real stories about how they went from school to uni and to a job. I always look for opportunities to pass that on because I think it’s good to hear it from someone who’s recently done it. Then they can make more informed decisions.”
She is enjoying her career where she works with people aged from three years of age to 103. “At my Moyne Health job there’s such a range of different conditions. In Melbourne you’d be on a spinal unit or with motor neurone disease patients but I get to see all different people because it’s just me doing the Moyne Shire.”
Alumni manager Jodie Abbott said the program was established last year. “We want to increase student aspirations and build a sense of community in the school and also when they leave school,” she said.
The first career session was held last week and she welcomes anyone wishing to share their experience to contact her. “We’ve already had a student come up after the first session and say ‘can you get a medical researcher in because I’d really like to know about that. I don’t know much about it’. It’s about engaging the community and using that as a resource for the school.”
Ms Abbott said it would help to raise their awareness about the opportunities that exist. “It’s definitely opening up their horizons to different careers they didn’t know about. It’s also about job opportunities here in Warrnambool that perhaps they haven’t thought of. Maybe they want to go away to uni and then come back.”
Ms Abbott said it was important to highlight that while moving away was exciting and fun, there was also some challenges for young people transitioning to university.
She hopes alumni who have established themselves will share their experiences and hopes to match students living away or studying the same course so they can mentor and support new students.
To participate in the program contact firstname.lastname@example.org