Can a career tool help me to have more engaging career conversations with my students? - Career HQ
I was after a Career Test to utilise with Senior Students, a test which gave the student the responsibility and ownership of choosing careers, not being told what to be. I also wanted a current job database relevant to today's workplace.
career education, career tools, career conversations
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Can a career tool help me to have more engaging career conversations with my students?

Freshwater Senior Campus Case Study

“I was after a Career Test to utilise with Senior Students, a test which gave the student the responsibility and ownership of choosing careers, not being told what to be. I also wanted a current job database relevant to today’s workplace. After much research I found both of these requirements were met by CareerHQ and The Career Compass. It has been well received by students and parents and gives a great starting point for any student to begin thinking about their choices for after the HSC. Greg Mumm and Jess Pollard have been extremely supportive in the whole implementation process.”

Melissa Penrose, Careers Advisor Freshwater Senior Campus.


The Freshwater Senior Campus (FSC) is one of five campuses in the Northern Beaches Secondary College in Sydney and provides education for 630 stage 6 (Years 11 and 12) students. The Campus provides students with the widest possible curriculum choices including a comprehensive range of academically challenging HSC subjects and an extensive range of TAFE courses.


Every year around 300 Year 12 students select their preferences and have to make decisions around what they want to do after high school. Finding the time to individually meet with and explore the career options of each student is one of the primary time challenges facing their careers advisors, Melissa Penrose and Maryann Rogers. Added to the time challenge is the fact that this meeting may at times be the first contact either of them has had with some students due to the large size of the senior college.

Finding a time and cost effective solution that gives students the opportunity to do some preparatory career exploration before the meeting, while also sharing the insights of this exploration with the school is the challenge that they were looking to address. The primary objective of the careers team was to facilitate meaningful career conversations around subject selection, career pathways and broader study options.


After receiving an email, Melissa and Maryann reached out to the CareerHQ team to explore how The CareerHQ Compass (an online career tool) and its group career interests data could be used to simplify and add value to their career conversations with students.

Freshwater Senior College introduced The CareerHQ Compass as a yearly activity for students to complete before their one-to-one conversations around preferences in 2017. This 40 minute online career tool is simple to deliver. On their own device each student has the power to select 6-10 career options that they are considering pursuing after school, while exploring their strengths, interests and lifestyle considerations. As students complete the tool the Careers Advisor and school are given instant access to each individuals report online. This information is then used as a conversation starter and rapport builder when meeting students to discuss preferences and broader career and study options.

The big time-saver for Melissa and Maryann was that they also did not need to be present while students were completing the tool. A link to the CareerHQ Compass was emailed to students, shared on their websites and promoted to parents at the careers evening. This resulted in a high completion rate in which over 216 students voluntarily took the opportunity to participate in this career exploration activity (out of around 300 students). An online link to the Compass meant that they could share the link by emailing students and parents and did not have to set aside time and resources within school hours for students to complete the task.

The CareerHQ Compass impacted Freshwater Senior Campus by helping to:

Enrich Career Conversations: The ability to instantly access the individual reports online helped to provide context around Melissa and Maryann’s career conversations with students. Having each individuals report on hand allowed them to connect their conversation around preferences with the 6-10 careers each student selected.

Reveal student career aspirations: The individual student reports often highlighted a range of career aspirations that both advisers had not previously heard students voice. This helped them to better understand the individual students making career conversations more relevant and strengthened the schools ability to respond to the needs of all students.

Shape the schools careers program: Alongside promoting career exploration and enriching conversations the online group career interests data gave Melissa, Maryann and Freshwater executive a unique look into the overall career interests of the year group. This has been important in helping her to shape their careers program including which courses, local businesses, professionals and career pathways are the most relevant for students.

Save time, energy and resources: Students participated in this tool individually on their own devices and outside of school time streamlining Melissa and Maryann’s time and resourcing costs. This allowed them to have more space left for one-to-one career conversations with students. The combined year group data also brought together the career interests of each group automatically, mitigating the need to survey and individually collate the combined career interests of each year group.


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