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More Than Your ATAR: Study not your thing or just need a break?

By August 19, 2021October 5th, 2021No Comments

For a lot of people, it is not all academic at all!

If you can’t wait to finish school and just want to get out in the workforce and start earning some cash that is great! We can point you in the right direction to get you well on your way.

Or, maybe you really do want to study after school but just need a break – some time away from the books to get some life experience and refocus. Well, maybe a gap year is the choice for you.

We know that who you are, what you are capable of and what you want to do is shaped by so much more than exam results.

The reality is that studying is simply not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s totally fine!

As we have said (emphasised very heavily) in some of our previous ‘More than Your ATAR’ blogs, whatever you decide to do after school needs to be what you want to do. We have covered off a lot of the study-related pathways you can pursue after school, but what if hitting the books again isn’t the right choice for you at the moment, or at all?

Great news! There are fantastic options out there for you too.


What exactly is a gap year? Well, it’s pretty simple. It is a year where you do other things before starting your next study. The idea is that after school is the perfect time to do this – you are not tied down by adult life, debts or commitments.

Students take gap years for a number of reasons, but probably the two biggest are to travel and to get some life experiences under their belt.

Some things you can do during your gap year might include:

  • Travelling might be an uncertainty at the moment, but often includes international travel or backpacking
  • Volunteering in remote communities for a cause that you are passionate about
  • Learning a new skill or following a passion project, think art, sports or languages
  • Working to get some experience and savings in the bank

If you are considering a gap year, but finding it hard to make a decision, Study Work Grow has a great little quiz that might help you out:

Take me to the quiz!

“After completing Year 12, I believe taking a gap year is so essential. Those final years of school can be an extremely difficult, stressful and exhausting time of your life and it is important to take time for yourself, think through your options and really consider what it is you want to do.”


CEF is collaborating with our partners The University of Sydney and University of Canberra; and the good people at the University of Wollongong to develop a free online resource to help you decide about taking a gap year.

It has heaps of great information and resources to help you plan and get organised. And like the CEF ‘Make it Possible’ hub, it has stories and advice from students who have ‘been there, and done that.’

Take me to The Gap Year Guide!


If you are totally done with the books, you can get out there and just start working.

It’s a great choice for some, and there is always work if you are willing to try new things and open to all sorts of opportunities. You might have to ‘start at the bottom’ and work your way up, but we all have to start somewhere! And this is a great way to gain experience, learn new skills and to demonstrate passion and commitment to future employers.


There are plenty of job search websites, tools and resources to help you get prepared for and to land the perfect job.

Here are three basic tips to get you started:

  • Create or update your resume.
    Remember, this document is all about selling yourself! MS Word has templates, or you can Google ideas.
  • How do I get a job? Get proactive!
    Look online at jobsearch websites like Seek, CareerOne and Jora; ask around and approach businesses with a resume!
  • Get LinkedIn.
    Creating a profile on this social media platform is great for seeking out professional opportunities and for networking. Make sure you follow the CEF LinkedIn page, and feel free to ‘connect’ with our staff!

“CEF doesn’t just support university students or those studying at TAFE. We believe that everyone is different, and there are many ways for our regional youth to be successful. And we know that employment can be a really great choice for some students after school, whether they don’t enjoy academics or need some time to consider what they might do next. CEF and our local foundations can definitely support students who are working or doing employment related training.”


Services Australia (formerly known as Centrelink) provides financial support and services to people who are looking for work – that means you!

If you have finished school and looking for work you may be eligible for support while you do so. If you are under 21, it is Youth Allowance, and for those over 22 you will be looking at a Jobseeker Payment. These are income support payments designed to help you get by while you are looking for work.

There are eligibility criteria you need to meet in order to receive support, so be sure to check out the Services Australia website and get in touch by phone or make an appointment at your local centre to chat with someone about the support that is available to you.

There are some myths around about these payments and of the people who receive them, so let’s clear that up for you right now.
Very few people receiving these payments are ‘dole bludgers’ or people ‘working the system.’

In fact, if the payments are used as intended and you make the most of the services available to you while receiving them, it is an incredibly beneficial system, and you won’t be on payments for long.
Now we have that cleared up…. on with the show!


Jobactive is a government initiative that helps people receiving income support payments to look for work. The program is carried out by a whole host of ‘providers’ across the country – think Joblink Plus, Sureway or MAX Employment.

They can help you with training and employability skills while looking for work, creating a resume and so much more.

There are two Jobactive programs in particular that provide support to youth looking for employment – Transition to Work and Youth Jobs PaTH. Here is a little more information on both.


This is an employment service that helps young people aged 15-24 into work or education. If you participate in the program you get intensive, pre-employment support to get you ready for the workforce.

Remember we mentioned ‘providers’? The organisations that deliver the Jobactive program? Well, these guys also deliver Transition to Work, and the will help you to:

  • Develop practical skills
  • Get education or training
  • Assist with job search
  • Find and finish work experience placements
  • Connect you with local job opportunities
  • Connect with relevant local community services


This is an internship program for jobseekers aged 17 – 24. An internship is a voluntary work trial with a host business.

It also includes 75 hours of training to help you develop employability and job search skills – things they don’t teach at school but you absolutely need in the real world!

It is a great way to get experience and find a job. You can download the factsheet HERE, and visit the website for more information and to see if you are eligible and get started.

The More Than Your ATAR series will  cover topics such as:

We’ll be talking to all the experts – students, CEF volunteers, high school and university advisors to help you on this long, windy road!


Author Nicole

CEF Engagement & Development

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