Your career pathway is the unique route you choose, from the many routes available, to reach your career goals.
Your career pathway will involve you completing formal and informal learning, developing your skills and experiencing education and training, community and personal life. As you gain more experience in the world of work and undertake a variety of life experiences, you are building your unique career path.
Education and training pathways
In Australia, the qualifications you gain at schools, vocational education and training providers and universities can be linked up in different ways, so that you can reach your career goal by many different pathways.
Recognition of prior learning (RPL) allows you to get credit for your existing knowledge and skills, such as your:
- Life experience (e.g. voluntary work, hobbies, sport)
- Work experience (including unpaid work)
- Previous study (e.g. courses at school or college, adult education classes, training and professional development programs at work).
Urban, rural and remote communities can do a lot to support informal learning. Some of the best learning happens when people think and act together:
- Across age groups
- Inclusive of men and women
- Using existing networks
- With employers
- With local learning leaders
- With community owned and managed organisations.
Community organisations can tell you about services and programs that exist to help you take your next career step.
Make the most of community pathways and partnerships as you work towards the career you want.
To plan a personal pathway, you need to know:
- What you like
- What’s important to you
- What you’re good at
- Who the people in your personal network are.
You need to consider your past decisions and experiences, your existing skills, your ambitions for the future and any information or advice you’ve discovered about your desired career.
Personal, community and educational pathways often cross and influence each other.
For example, community activities you’ve been involved in, such as volunteer community radio broadcasting, can influence educational choices you make—the school subjects or further education courses you choose. And you would have built up a valuable personal network while at the radio station, too.
Opportunities, new experiences, barriers and constraints you encounter as you move along your career pathway can make a difference to the direction you take at any point where there is a choice.
The more actively you explore the different routes you can take towards your goals, the more choice you’ll discover.
A career adviser can help you, if you’re having trouble seeing how your education, community and personal pathways interrelate, and what your choices are.
Navigate with care
Following your career pathway means making some choices. Ask yourself these questions:
- What have I learnt from my life experiences that I want to use in my career?
- What career fields am I interested in?
- What pathways could I take to get to those career fields?
- Do I need to take a course at a tertiary institution, a private college, TAFE or university?
- What are the entry requirements for those institutions?
- When I finish the course, what jobs will I qualify for?
- Who do I know who can help me?
- What resources and networks does my community have to offer?
- How can I use my personal networks of family, friends and associates to build my career?
Base your career and educational choices on who you are today. You can always change the course of your pathway in the future as you and your desires change.
Career development is a lifelong process that is unique for every individual. There are many influences that contribute to your career such as:
- Who you are as an individual - This includes your self-concept, interests, skills, knowledge, personality, ethnicity, age, gender, ability, disability, health, beliefs and sexual orientation. For example, your choice of hobbies reflects your interests and abilities.
- Your community - The community plays an important role in forming your identity, beliefs and attitudes. Members of your community can be your family, peers, friends or colleagues from your school or workplace, employers, the media, community groups and clubs. They can influence the lifestyle you want to aspire towards, the work you choose, the life roles you take on and what you value about yourself.
- The environment and wider society - This refers to the opportunities or constraints caused by factors such as the region or location you live in (i.e. rural or metropolitan), what is happening in the employment market (e.g. are there job vacancies in your career field), your socioeconomic status (e.g. do you have to consider financial commitments such as mortgages or children's education), historical trends (eg changes in women's participation in the workforce) and political decisions (e.g. government grants available for enterprise development).
Random and unpredictable events may also impact on your career. Different sets of influences will be dominant at different stages in your life as you grow and develop as a person. For example, in childhood, ideas about life roles and work are expressed in play and are based on the adults with whom you identify strongly.
In adolescence, career exploration is based on identifying interests, abilities, capacities and values; learning about the world of work through observing adults at work; participating in the workforce; and accessing career resources and programs.
As an adult, your career development becomes more intricate.
You are in the driver’s seat of your of your own career. Fuel yourself with knowledge and drive your career towards your goals.