What’s a Career Pathway?

Career pathways are a structured plan that will guide your student through their career. It will provide stepping stones to ensure they understand available options and set goals for them to work towards. It’s not all head down, bum up – in addition to formal education and training, each career path will involve lots of informal learning, where they will pick up a range of useful life skills and meet many people along the way.

Students can get started while they’re at school on the pathway into construction with a number of VET courses ready to start during school hours offering an early entry into the industry. From school there are a number of avenues from TAFE diplomas, apprenticeships and graduate certificates to university degrees and even doctorates.

It is also not a one size fits all approach – there are many ways that students can reach the career they want, the important point to make is to remain flexible as they work their way through to allow them to access any opportunity that may present itself.

So how do students kick off their career path best?

University /
Tertiary Education

Australian universities are among the best in the world, offering 227 degrees and courses which can be completed part time or full time.

Universities teach you the theoretical and technical knowledge that you will require. Being at university also teaches you to think critically, allowing you to analyse and understand problems in your area of study.

How do they get there?

Contact the University Admissions Centre:
SA and NT – The Northern Territory does not have a centralised admissions centre. Applications for entry to Charles Darwin University are made via SATAC, the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre.
TAS – Tasmania does not have a centralised admissions centre. Applications for entry should be made directly to the University of Tasmania.

Apprenticeship / Traineeship / VET

Australian apprenticeships or traineeships are available to anyone of working age, and can be completed full time, part time, or while still at school. They are available in more than 500 occupations, including trades and many emerging careers.

Find out more about apprenticeships and traineeships

How do they get there?

Students can do an apprenticeship if they are a school leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult worker wishing to change direction or gain new skills. They do not need a secondary school certificate or prior qualification to start an apprenticeship.

They can start your apprenticeship while they are still at school finishing Years 11 and 12.

MySkills helps students browse through courses for their chosen apprenticeship.

On the Job

Whilst some professions demand specific qualifications, there are some careers where on the job training and experience offers the skills required to perform the tasks necessary for that profession. Some employers offer training programs or courses to equip you with more skills and a better understanding of your job.

How do they get there?

To find a job, look on websites like Seek, Australian JobSearch or Adzuna. Check out newspapers; daily, weekly, local, state and national newspapers all have job ads in them. Encourage your son or daughter to talk to people around them – family members, friends, family friends and acquaintances, they might know about a position that’s not being advertised.

There are many different paths, here are just a few:


Left school at the end of year 10
Carpentry apprenticeship
Employed as a Leading Hand
Employed as a Project Manager
Employed as a Site Foreman at John Holland

“I love that no two days are the same.”


Finished school
Studied teaching
Carpentry apprenticeship
Construction management cadetship at Multiplex
Employed as a Site Supervisor

“I’m learning a new skill each day, and every day on the job is different.”


Finished school
Studied construction management
Employed as a cadet
Employed as a Site Engineer at Multiplex

“I’ve always had a fascination with building and creating something tangible.”


Finished school
Studied science
On the job training of ecological restoration
Studied environmental engineering
Employed as an Environmental Graduate at Leighton Contractors

“Finding solutions to environmental challenges is what keeps my career interesting.”


Left school at the end of year 10
Carpentry pre-apprenticeship course
Employed as an Apprentice Carpenter at John Holland

“I hate being stuck indoors, so being outdoors and working with my hands is great!”


Finished school
Studied a double degree in Civil Engineering and Commerce
Employed as a Graduate Engineer with Fulton Hogan

“The construction industry’s awesome, it’s fun and you’ll learn a lot of different skills.”