Choosing a path is something you have to do for many aspects of your life — your relationships with friends and family, or where you're going to live, are just a couple of examples. And when it comes the type of work you do, or your career, choosing a path is important because it helps you focus on a clear goal and gives you a better chance of success.
To choose a career path, there's two key areas you should explore; knowing yourself, and finding out what jobs or careers are out there. Once you know more about what sort of work will suit you, and what options are available, you'll be able to choose your own path. And remember, your local Jobs and Skills Centre can help.
You can also find some great information in Career planning under the Jobs and careers section of this website, but here you'll find stories of people from your mob and find out how they chose their path.
Meet Shane, Maya and Tony
Sometimes hearing how other people figure things out can help you to do the same. Shane needed to get to know himself more, to help him choose a path. Maya and Tony each have a story to share about how they chose their path and took the first steps to find out what might be out there for them.
Use the buttons to move through each of the slideshow stories and see how Shane, Maya and Tony went about getting to know themselves, and how that helped them to choose a path.
Shane grew up a city boy, but his family is from North West WA. His mates describe him as smart and funny but a bit lazy sometimes, especially when it comes to studying. His family says he's clever at fixing things and solving problems, and he's very patient when it comes to helping people.
At 16 years of age, and nearly time for leaving school, Shane needs to think about choosing a path for his future.
He decides to do some work on getting to know himself.
Shane grabs a notebook and starts thinking about four main things.
Values — What's important to me? How do I want work to fit into my life? What matters most to me in a job?
Interests — What interests or activities do I enjoy? What about in the past? What do I really not like to do?
Personality — What are my personal qualities – like honesty, determination, loyalty? Do I enjoy being around people?
Skills — What am I good at? What am I not so good at?
Most of all, Shane loves computers and the internet. As a kid, he was a huge game player but now he's more interested in how technology works. And he loves showing his friends new things, and teaching them tips and tricks.
Shane realises that out of the four areas he looked at before, being with people and teaching or showing them new things are important to him.
And what matters to him in a job is enjoying what he's doing, working with people, and being able to learn new things.
Shane shows his notes to his sister Clare and her mate Trish, who both know him very well. They agree that a job where he can work with people but still be around computers and technology would be perfect.
And since he already knows a lot about this area — maybe he won't need to study as much, which would be perfect.
Now that Shane knows himself a bit better, he can think about choosing a path that will lead him to a career that matches his values, interests, personality and skills.
Maya, 19, grew up and went to school in the north west of WA. She completed a Certificate II in Business during years 11 and 12, and for the past three years she's been working part time at her local Coles supermarket.
Maya is very involved with her local community, particularly with environmental and conservation issues, and she does volunteer work at a local horse riding school.
She also enjoys time with her friends and family.
Maya's love of animals and the environment, and her experience as a volunteer, has helped her to realise that she wants a job where she can make a difference in her community.
Now she just needs to figure out how to get started on that path.
She's been thinking about the local issues she cares most about, and which organisations are involved in supporting these causes, and figures one of those might be a good place to work.
What's out there for Maya
Maya goes to see Cheryl at her local Jobs and Skills Centre for some advice, and together they research the kind of organisations that do work in the areas of animals, conservation and the environment.
They find one that's involved with all the issues she cares about – turns out Maya's local council is a great match!
Cheryl suggests Maya should call the Council's human resources (HR) section to find out about employment opportunities.
When she gets home, Maya finds the number on the Council website and gives them a call.
The HR department tells Maya that her qualification and the volunteer work she's done are both well suited to this kind of work, but that she will need to begin as a junior then work her way up from there.
So the next step on Maya's career path is to look for entry-level jobs with her local council, with a focus on local conservation and environmental management.
Tony grew up in Kalgoorlie but left school at the end of year 10 and moved to Perth when he was 16.
After two years of casual employment and work experience, he started an automotive mechanic’s apprenticeship. Tony really enjoyed the training and the hands-on type of work. He completed the apprenticeship when he was 21 and then stayed working in Perth for three years.
At 24, Tony went back out to the Goldfields to a job servicing heavy vehicles for a mining company.
Tony loved his job with the heavy vehicles, but after 10 years of working on mine sites he decided he wanted to move back to the city. Now Tony is looking for the same kind of work in Perth, but a lot has changed while he's been away.
Tony would really like to stay on his chosen path and keep working with the big heavy vehicles like excavators, graders and dozers if he can, but he's not sure that's going to happen in Perth.
He needs to find out where heavy vehicle mechanics are employed, and whether there’s work available.
Tony visits his local Jobs and Skills Centre and talks to Rachel.
They do some research, which confirms there is work for experienced diesel mechanics but not as much with the heavy vehicles he's used to – in the city, it's more with landscaping equipment or large trucks and buses.
Tony is a bit disappointed to hear all this, but Rachel suggests he could look for casual work to gain some experience with other types of equipment while he's trying to get a full time job.
Other people's stories
Getting to know what’s out there in the working world is an important part of choosing and planning your path. It involves learning about the many different industries, areas of employment and occupations, as well as the working conditions and employment prospects each might offer.
Take a look at this video to hear the stories of how four Aboriginal people chose their path and got to where they are now.
You can also find some great information in Career planning under the Jobs and careers section of this website.
How we can help
Your local Jobs and Skills Centre has experience working with Aboriginal people, and they can help you to choose your path and find what's out there. All services are free, and all ages are welcome.