Sunbury school leaver’s struggle



A little less than 12 months ago Sunbury teen, Tom Blackmore completed his VCE studies with a clear mind about what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go in the future. However, for the past year Tom has been in and out of apprenticeships and in and out of work and is now unemployed and living at home.

Department manager at Kangan Institute in Melbourne, Chris Arnold estimates that of all people starting apprenticeships, about 95 per cent are school leavers.

Mr Arnold cites job security and getting paid while you work as some of the major motivations for school leavers deciding to take on apprenticeships.

“Qualified tradespeople also earn more,” he said.

However, of about half of all people who start apprenticeships never complete them, research by the national centre for vocational education shows. The report shows that one of the most common reasons for this is because of employment related troubles where apprentices have interpersonal issues or decide they do not like the career.

Tom says that it took him at least six months to even find his first apprenticeship and when he did finally start it, he said it was more fun than work.

“I wasn’t getting paid properly and I learnt the equivalent of nothing,” he said.

Whilst Tom says that his second apprenticeship was much better but he decided to leave because of the stress.

“The whole time I’d been talking to my friends and I developed interest in what else there might be.”

Unemployed for over a month, Tom still has little idea of what he wants to do in the future. His mother, Lisa Blackmore says that he seems to have no drive at the moment.

“We’ve made a few suggestions but he hasn’t really settled on what path he’d like to take at the moment.”

Mrs Blackmore believes that one of the reasons school leavers like Tom change career paths after they finish year 12 is because they are pushed into deciding on a career path early on.

“They’re basically told in year ten you’ve got to decide which way you want to go, because your subject choice has to be altered now,” Mrs Blackmore said.

“It was probably halfway through year 12 that Tom decided on the apprenticeship scenario,” she said.

Tom says that a lot of his friends are now also in a similar boat to him.

“A lot of people I’m associated with have dropped out of uni, picked up part time work after realizing they weren’t ready for full time study on top of year 12.”


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