There are many things to consider as you prepare for your transition from the here-and-now (secondary school) to life beyond. Your future will be unique, and you will have different needs and wants to your mates. However, there are some ‘general transition’ tasks that the majority of school leavers should add to their ‘to-do’ list.
Whether you are going to uni, TAFE or onto work, your career tool-box should include:
Do you have yours on a USB? We know that schools will ‘clean out’ folder/s at the end of the year, so make sure you have a copy tucked away somewhere safe. Unless you like starting from scratch!
Even if you are not hitting the workforce for a few more years, a written reference from ‘school days’ is a handy gadget to have. Some employers like the written word, others prefer to call a referee to find out about you. I encourage my year 12s to twist a reference out of one of their teachers – sometimes this backfires, and they twist it out of me!
Youth Allowance / Centrelink
No matter your planned situation (becoming an apprentice, TAFE student, finding a job, going to Uni) you need to throw Centrelink on your ‘to-do-list’. Even if you aren’t eligible for benefits, you may still qualify for other perks (discounts on things like travel). Start simple (by watching this quick YouTube clip) then move forward by reading more on Centrelink’s Youth Allowance page. You will have to get your parents/guardians on the bandwagon as you will need info about their income. If you are an independent and need help, turn to the appropriate person at your school.
This Centrelink task is not one to toss into the too-hard-basket, there are deadlines, and if you leave it too late, you WILL miss out.
Tax File Number
Unfortunately, you can no longer get your TFN via school, you have to apply online or visit Australia Post. Without a TFN, you could end up paying half your wage (in taxes) to the government – nasty! You also need a TFN to take out a student loan.
If you don’t have a birth certificate, this can make your adult life a little tiresome, particularly as you move into the world of loans and financial commitments. If possible, ensure that you have your full birth certificate (not an extract). Australian-born-folk (aka citizens) can do a web-search “birth deaths and marriages” – look in the State you were born (and I don’t mean naked!). For new Australians, you will need to seek advice from the appropriate person in your school or community.
Do you know where yours are? You will be surprised at how many employers in the future will want to read your school reports (E.g., Defence Force). Whether yours are good, bad or ugly, you should have them stored safely.
Do yourself a favour and make use of the work experience program on offer at your school. The September holidays are a prime time to try something new or build on your skills. The more skills an employer sees on your resume, the more gob-smacked they become!