How many of you are currently unemployed, but would like to have some sort of casual employment? Who isn’t set on their future career, but would like to have a better idea? Who likes making money?
So what if I told you, I know a way to fulfill all of these desires. The answer is work experience. I believe work experience should be integrated into Australia's curriculum and be a compulsory part of high school. Currently some public schools have a work experience opportunity for students at the end of year 9 or 10, but not all schools enforce this. I believe every school in Australia should implement an element of work experience. By making it a part of the high school curriculum it will teach students new skills not learned in the classroom. It will make the difficult task of gaining employment much easier. It can give students the opportunity to see what is really involved in their dream job and it’s a good way to earn some extra cash.
By integrating work experience into Australia’s high school curriculum it will expose students to an opportunity to gain a whole new range of necessary life skills, develop their personal attributes and exercise learned practices. Textbooks and schools teach you essential information you will use in life and in the workforce and while this information if obviously necessary and important, they do not teach you the next vital step which is knowing how to actually execute and apply this learned knowledge in a real life situation or workplace. This can only be taught properly, through practical experience.
From personal experience I know that the workforce teaches you many valuable skills and lessons that school will not and physically cannot. From working at Fernwood gym I have acquired many skills and learnt things I otherwise wouldn’t have. Some of these include professionalism, sacrifice, independence, responsibility and organisation. Before I gained employment I was very shy with strangers and didn’t like to put myself out there. I have been taught how I’m meant speak professionally to strangers, but when put in a real situation it can be a lot more daunting than anticipated. Through working I have been forced into an environment with situations very much out of my comfort zone. Although I was hesitant at first, this has taught me how to overcome my emotions. I have learnt that life is going to throw challenges at me that will help me develop my skills and it is important to take them on, rather than avoid them. I have taken these new found skills and applied them to not only my work but also my school studies and life situations.
Another benefit of work experience for students is, it can give them the opportunity to test drive their future career. Certain work experience, known as work shadowing or even an internship allows students to work closely with a professional of their particular field. They get to watch closely the jobs and duties undertaken by the employee, listen and feel their workplace environment and most likely even participate in the simpler tasks performed by employees of that field. An opportunity like this gives students a real insight into jobs and can help for subject or even job selection in the future.
On CSIRO’s website a student named Huon wrote about his work experience at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency and he said 'The best thing about my work experience at CSIRO was realising that maths in real life could actually be interesting. The only maths I had done previously was school exercises and a few contrived problems that at the time didn't seem to apply to anything. David was an awesome supervisor and I thank him for making it so enjoyable’. Huon clearly benefited from his work experience in more ways than one. He got to see how his maths work done in school can actually be applied to something useful in the world and was reassured maths is something he enjoys and would be interested to continue with...