The Fear Factor or Exciting Times Ahead?

Often the messages young people hear about future career and job prospects are confusing and concerning: What will the future of work look like? Are we preparing you for jobs that do not even exist yet?

Instead of young people being excited about this uncertainty, young people feel a daunting need to make decisions that are fixed and focused which leads me to question whether this is causing a layer of stress, anxiety and fear for young people?

In recent times, more and more students speaking with careers practitioners and university course advisers seem concerned about making the ‘wrong’ decision. Have I chosen the wrong subjects? Will my choices limit my options? Can I change my mind? Am I in the wrong course? Am I doing the wrong majors? Will I get a job?

How do we address their fears? How can we empower students to value learning? How do we make them understand that the skills that they will build along the way are important?

In an analysis of 4.2 million job advertisements between 2012 and 2015 it was shown that more employers are demanding enterprising skills among young employees as the most critical skills for the jobs of the future. However, evidence suggests not all young people are prepared for this more complex world of work.

These are transferable skills that allow young people to be enterprising so they can navigate complex careers across a range of industries and professions. They include problem solving, financial literacy, digital literacy, teamwork, and communication and are different from technical skills which are specific to a particular task, role or industry.1

Students in Years 11 and 12 enjoyed hearing from a range of professionals at the 2019 Careers Breakfast.

How many of us are in a job where these ‘enterprising’ skills are integral to us? How many of us would have benefited from ensuring we had some kind of training or experience to help us develop these skills?

In this article, I am asking many questions. This must be what our students are doing every time they think about their future.

There have always been jobs ahead of us that we never knew would exist. For example, a person was once responsible for knocking on your door to wake you up, then there was the introduction of the alarm clock. Someone once had the job of lighting the lanterns in the streets at night, then there was the introduction of electricity and street lights.

Our students are facing the unknown just as we did. Should they shy away from this or should they be more prepared?

Let us talk more with our children and offer opportunities in their lives to allow them to think, create and solve problems, be enterprising, make mistakes, and look forward to an exciting career journey where they may end up experiencing 17 different jobs in their lifetime.

At the recent Year 10 Careers Day, the girls learnt about how and why networking is an integral part of building a future with opportunities that do not pass you by. They were taught how to network and what questions to ask.

When looking to the future, I encourage St Catherine’s students to adopt the mantra, ‘Let us be excited, not fearful’.

Save the Date

2020 Subject Information Night
Thursday 18 July 2019


  • To hear about the academic offerings for Years 9 to 12 in 2020.
  • The processes and support at St Catherine’s.
  • An opportunity to chat with subject teachers.


  1. The new basics: Big data reveals the skills young people need for the New Work Order. fya New Order Series.
Mrs Pauline Van Der Poel, Director of Planning and Organisation and Careers Practitioner