Karen Lomas
May 6, 2016

Melbourne VCE and Careers Expo


VCE and Careers Expo

VCE and Careers Expo

I spent yesterday at the Melbourne VCE and Careers Expo. Wow, it was busy, and jam packed with bus loads of year 10s from all over Victoria. I was happy to see that the event had drawn so many students.

By the way, VCE stands for Victorian Certificate of Education. There exams are taken by students in Victorian schools, across years 11 and 12 (some students may commence a unit in year 10 if they’re eager to get a subject under their belt in year 11). There are other qualifications on offer, however this is the focus of attention at this expo due to the fact that for a large number of tertiary pathways it is a result based upon VCE study scores that translates into an enter score for university courses.

Anyway, I digress. I went along yesterday with the mother of a client. It was the first time she had attended the VCE and Careers Expo, as her twin sons are just now in year 9, so they are in the early stages of career exploration- we are looking at jobs and work experience placement opportunities together. Anyway, let’s call the mum Anna. Anna as a parent was thoroughly overwhelmed by the Expo; not in a bad way, but as I said before, it was a bit chockers! It is held at the Caulfield Racecourse and occupies 3 levels of the main grandstand building. There are seminars run by various presenters from schools and universities, and trade stands for training providers and other tertiary entities.

So, for Anna, as a first time attendee, browsing the VCE and Careers Expo was a real eye opener. Anna is someone who didn’t embark upon tertiary study herself and nor did her husband. So even the word, ‘university’ made her feel quite anxious. What Anna found was that the representatives from the tertiary institutions were really good at making her appreciate the options; make it all slightly less of a foreign language. On the downside, she was more than amazed at how very many of them there are; big, small, famous, unknown, and all of them spruiking like mad with their glossy brochures, free pens, and in some cases, the chance to win an iPad if you filled out an inquiry form. I kid you not. Some training providers are blatant in their sales techniques- their business is not about helping identify options, it’s about persuasion; “how can I persuade you to sign up?” Are these sales reps on commission? I’d say most probably yes! I’ve written about this before in my blog entitled, “Promised a Job by a Career Coach?”

Now I can assure you that the major well known institutions do not exhibit at the VCE and Careers Expo to sell you a dream by means of offers of iPads, or holidays to tropical destinations. By no means. But what I will say is that, for Anna it was as easy to navigate the Expo as to pick one newborn puppy over another at the breeders – she’s a poodle girl. Golden Retrievers for me any day of the week. Remember I said it was over 3 floors? Well, that’s two whole floors of an entire grandstand absolutely packed from wall to wall with trade stands from over 170 exhibitors. If you’re not equipped with a pair of blinkers (rather apt at a racecourse, haha) and ear muffs, it’s hard not to get swept up by the sheer enthusiasm of the ‘advisors’ asking; “Are you a parent?”, and “Would you like to hear about our new sports fitness course?”

Anna said to me that she was glad to have my support, and so I’m now strongly of the belief that an impartial and totally independent ‘guide’ is of great benefit, particularly when, like Anna, you have no experience of the process of applying for a tertiary course. Also good if you’re the parent whose eldest teen is getting to the pointy end of secondary school, meaning it’s your first time going through this in the 21st century context of fierce competition for places and high graduate unemployment- the recipe for anxiety if ever there was. Also if you’re from out of town, or harder still, from overseas, which means you are having to get your head around how VCE compares with A’ Levels, Grade Point Average etc.

I’m going to be attending the VCE and Careers Expo again next year and I did actually enjoy having some company along (someone with whom to stop for a proper Melbourne coffee). so, “you can come too”, as they say in Jungle Book, so just contact me on 0419390854 if you’d like a ticket. Oh, and parents, it’s a good idea to go on Saturday or Sunday, either with or without your year 10 or 11 student offspring. The bus loads on a weekday were a sight, and sound, to behold!

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