Is Year 12 the right move for me? - Career HQ
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Is Year 12 the right move for me?

Some students have their Year 12 and future path all mapped out, the subjects they need, the ATAR required and which course they want to do. But Year 12 isn’t for everyone. About 17% of students in Australia don’t stay to sit Year 12 exams. For students who feel that staying in a school environment or sitting the HSC/OP/IB isn’t for them, there are lots of other options to consider. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with not doing your Year 12 exams for those students who are better suited to following another pathway to life after school.

The VET system is more geared than ever towards students exploring different subjects in school and gaining qualifications and experience whilst still at school. Students can start completing VET subjects in Year 9 and build a whole range of hands on skills and training by the time they choose to leave school in Years 10, 11 or 12. 

There are also lots of opportunities for students who are interested in an apprenticeship or traineeship whilst at school. Students can start a course from just before they are 15 years old. Apprenticeships and traineeships range from mechanics to hairdressing, cookery, construction, IT and landscaping. In NSW the Government has several payment options and many of the apprenticeships and traineeships are free. Those interested in apprenticeships and traineeships can be earning a wage whilst training and be fully qualified long before many of their classmates finish studying their post school courses.

For those that are concerned Year 12 may not be for them due to the pressure put on young people, or who don’t have the time to commit to doing a full study load due to caring or working responsibilities, there are options. You can complete Year 12 across several years with a smaller course load each year, either by talking to your school or local TAFE. There are also a variety of places you can finish Year 12 if school isn’t the right environment for you. Many TAFE’s and colleges offer students the chance to complete their senior high school certificate in a setting more suited to you personally.

For some young people there’s no interest and motivation in studying further in any way, and they simply want a job. With the impact of COVID-19, a range of entry level jobs which young people tend to apply for are fewer in number and with more people applying. However, for those with an interest in areas such as warehousing and logistics, retail, the health and care sectors, and agriculture there are plenty of opportunities around.

Some students need a break before deciding what the next step is for them. Whether it’s returning to education, getting a job or following a hobby that’s a passion, there are lots of pathways available to young people currently. Leaving school before completing your senior high school certificate does not mean that you can’t become a dentist or write a best selling novel, or be a tech entrepreneur. Year 12 is not always the right choice and for those looking for an alternative there are lots of choices to explore. Our advice is to study and work at what you are most interested in and are good at. There’s then a better chance that you will get your career off to a good or rewarding start.