Career Transition

For many students, choosing subjects can be daunting enough without choosing career pathways. It is important however, that students recognise the importance of course selection in helping to determine their final outcome.

Statistically, around half the Colleges’ students receive an offer from University. The remainder undertake apprenticeships, traineeships, attend TAFE or take up employment.

Students’ immediate post-school transitions are not as limited as they once were. Students may undertake many different pathways. Here is a brief description of entry levels of the five main post-school pathways students undertake:


Apprenticeships are increasing in numbers and significant funding is being made available in skills shortage areas. While often employers prefer students with a HSC credential, apprenticeships usually do not require the HSC. Students who are intending on gaining an apprenticeship might consider Vocational Education and Training subjects.


Most students who engage in employment immediately after school typically enter positions that require little or no formal training. Depending on the industry however, some form of Vocational Education and Training may assist.

TAFE and Other Education

TAFE entry varies depending on the course. Students who complete their HSC can generally enter at a Certificate IV or higher level (as the HSC is an equivalent to a Certificate III on the AQF). Similarly, minimum qualifications for other Registered Training Authorities may vary, though again the majority will accept the HSC for most courses. Students who are considering a TAFE level qualification should consider Vocational Education and Training in their intended area of study as it will provide credit towards their study.


Traineeships are fast becoming popular in the Business Services and Retail sectors, the two fastest growing industries in the Hunter Region and two of the largest employers nationally. Depending on the Traineeship, students may or may not require HSC and those considering a Traineeship should consider Vocational Education and Training subjects.

University Entry

There are several ways to gain access to university, but for many school leavers the ATAR remains the key entry method. The NSW ATAR can be used for access to most higher education institutions in the country. Students who are considering a University pathway could consider a VET Course as part of their ATAR.

Students and parents should consider transition information when making subject selections. Importantly, students should only consider a ATAR pathway where the intended outcome is University Entry.

Students who intend to undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship who do not complete some form of Vocational Education and Training relevant to their career pathways may find themselves disadvantaged.

Many students utilise TAFE and equivalent qualifications for entry into university. A Certificate IV will guarantee entry at the University of Newcastle, in many of their graduate courses.

For more information, please contact the Careers Coordinator: Julie McLoughlin Email: