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LIFE after High School : Careers: skydive photographers to drummers and everything in between | Antonia Prebble on decision making INSIDE Sector overviews | Tips from the top: J.K Rowling and Steve Jobs | On the street: “what I wish I knew”
contents 12 22 : ON THE COVER tlett to by Zena Bar Nico & Drew. Pho
Editor Kate Beecroft Sales Manager Belle Hanrahan firstname.lastname@example.org Editor in chief Shane Cummings Publisher Bronwen Wilkins Contributors Sarah Dunn Rachel Brandon Zena Bartlett Nico Boelee
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Editorial How to use this guide A career is life-defining Exploring career options The importance of qualifications Uni, Tech, ITOs and Wānanga Words of wisdom from Michelle Pawson Gap year: the only thing missing is you Keep calm and carry on with Antonia Prebble The benefits of failure: J. K. Rowling Sector overviews Design student doing her ‘best’ Running around with physio Brown Crunching numbers with Sarah Wood Brewing beer doesn’t feel like work Standing in rivers with Jackson Shanks How to make it in PR A beautiful accident Coffee and art make perfect blend Peeling back acting stereotypes with Vic Abbott Insurance for a better world Visual story: work On the ward with Dr Mearns Vox pops Justspeak: a voice for youth Doing stunts with Shane Rangi An eventful life Top science jobs worth their weight in gold Stay hungry. Stay foolish: Steve Jobs Bottled at the source Lord of the skies The world needs the organisers It’s all about people Sector Overviews: vocational pathways Patisserie queen Sailing to success: life on the superyachts Milking a good knowledge base in dairy Batting for the black caps Breaking the mould Recycling the way forward in retail The sky’s the limit Making sparks fly with Sandfly Digging in for the big bucks Building to travel Navy provides an ocean of adventure A little bit of style gives a lot of confidence Vox pops Your CV Your cover letter Visual piece Index
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JET Career Guide Photographer
fROM THE ED The reason the late Steve Jobs scaled such enormous heights was because of his refusal to settle. Not just in the standards of Apple computers, or Pixar animations, but in the span of his whole career. He refused to live a life that wasn’t the one he had chosen. While Jobs is one of the most successful people of the modern age, it is important to remember that he, too, started somewhere. He, too, left high school and had to grapple with the tough questions of what to study and what to do with his life. He ended up dropping out of college but continued to refuse to settle. He lived by this maxim: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” The JET Career Guide deals with this age-old problem of figuring out what to do with your life. The careers of the guys and girls featured in this guide are as varied and diverse as the landscape of New Zealand. Even if none of the careers profiled in the JET Career Guide appeal to you, there’s plenty of general advice from those who have lived through these tough times and have pearls of wisdom to share. Antonia Prebble’s approach to life after high school is a good starting point, and so is columnist Michelle Pawson’s decision-making process. In their own way, all the people profiled in this edition of JET Career Guide say a similar thing. If you utilise and build on the skills you have, and combine this with what you enjoy, a remarkable career will materialise. This is JET’s central message. Although JET is a career guide, we’re not trying to provide the meaning of life within these pages. Figuring out what to do with your life is extremely personal, and it is something that goes on indefinitely. Your thinking on life and the world is constantly evolving and so, too, will your thinking on what kind of career is going to enable your life to be the best it can be. Keep listening to your instinct, or as Mr. Jobs would say, “your inner voice”, and you will find the thing that you love.
“I have been studying photography for about six years, and I’m still learning new things all the time. Photography is all about trial and error, and the only way you find your niche is by experimenting. I guess that's what I love about it. I don’t think my photography fits neatly into a genre, but if had to categorise it, I would say it is fine arts-based. A lot of my work at the moment is based on themes of the blurred boundaries between dreams and reality. My plan, career-wise, is to be a rich biggy boss.” Zena’s depictions of the working world can be seen on page 57 and 71 her shots accompany the Coffee and Art story on page 27, It’s All about People on page 45 and Recycling is the Way Forward in Retail on page 56.
Model and stylist for the JET Career Guide cover
Kate Beecroft JET Editor
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“My style stems from my realisation that, as an adult, I can wear anything that pops in to my head. I can prance around like Cruella Deville in a big fur coat or a wear a deconstructed female version of a tux, bowtie included. I love fashion’s ability to express or project moods. It's also ridiculously fun. Fabric appeals to me, particularly something like chiffon, which has such fluidity. Add that to Wellington’s tempestuous weather and you have a beautiful kind of melodrama.” Nico’s future plans include continuing to play dress up and further developing her ability to do so with others. She asks, “Does this make me sound like a demented child?” Just a little bit, Nico.
Career GU de
how to use the
Info General information on everything you need to know to help you make informed decisions.
Health This sector is all about helping people.
Business and the Public Sector Professionalism and high pressured roles mean this sector includes jobs which shape the way we live.
Creative A huge sector in which thinking outside the square is key.
Education and People Communication and patience are essential in this sector.
The symbols at the top of each profile correspond broadly to the sector that it fits into. Some careers fit into more than just one sector. Refer to the sector overviews on page 16 or the pathways sector overviews on page 46 for information about skills shortages and surpluses, attributes that come in handy, and targeted information about the sector.
Engineering, Science and IT
People qualified science, engineering, to and IT are and every INSIDE: Careers:inskydive photographers drummers in on high demand. decision making Trade based careers | Tips from the top: J
Primary sector Industries: agriculture, horticulture, forestry seafood, seed industry.
Vocational Pathways This is the broadest of the sectors and encompasses careers that use vocational-based training.
Construction and Infrastructure sectors Industries: carpentry, joinery, gas fitting, plumbing, essential services.
Manufacturing and Technology Sector Industries: Manufacturing: baking, boatbuilding, marine products, clothing and textiles, footwear, concrete, dairy, electronics, food and beverages technology, glass, machinery and equipment, mechanical engineering, metal, paint, chemicals and plastics, pharmaceutical, jewellery, furniture, transport.
Service sector: people Social and Community services sectors Industries: aged care, defence forces, security, police, local community.
Industries: Hair and beauty, fashion, entertainment, funeral services, hospitality, museums and galleries, retail, sport and fitness, travel and tourism.
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is life-defining “Don’t live to work” is a saying often thrown around, and it is an important one. Life should be about more than a job. However, it is important not to ignore how much your career will impact your life.
magine going to work every day excited about the challenges and rewards the day will bring. Now visualise dragging your head off the pillow, into the office or store or work site, and feeling sad and weary about your job, constantly counting down the minutes till the day’s over. According to the World Health Organization, 58 per cent of the world’s population spends one-third of their lives at work. This might sound scary, and a little tragic, but in this day and age, a job is your meal ticket as well as much, much more. Your job can seriously affect your state of mind and happiness. So it is worth your time to put a lot of effort into figuring out what career will make you happiest. Steve Jobs said, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” If the answer was “No” too many days in a row, he would change something.
Think ahead Consider: • What makes you happy (apart from lying on the couch with a packet of pineapple lumps)? • Do you like being around people? • Do you prefer spending a lot of time by yourself? • Do you like having set tasks and deadlines to work towards? • Do you think a job that will ensure a large pay cheque will contribute toward your happiness? Who do you admire? What do they do? • What steps have the people you admire taken to get to where they are? • Is your goal realistic (wanting to be an astronaut might not be that realistic for a New Zealander)? Besides the fact that there are new jobs appearing all the time, there is also a horde of jobs that you may not have thought about. Say you’re quite good at biology and decide to pursue it at polytechnic or university; from botanist to beekeeper to bio-security officer. And we all know that beekeepers can conquer Mt Everest and go on to save Nepalese villages.
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We spend most of our waking lives at work – in occupations most often chosen by our inexperienced younger selves. And yet we rarely ask ourselves how we got there or what our jobs mean to us. Alain de Botton
If you do change your mind... Trying to get a job and career that you love is a good goal. However, it’s important to remember that just as not every day at high school is super fun; it’s the same in the working world. If you are happy at work the majority of the time and you are productive, it’s a sign that your career is well suited. But it’s never too late to go back to the drawing board and embark upon a different path. The first career you decide on may change a few months or years down the track. This is OK. It’s said that people change their careers up to seven times in their life. While this might be a generous estimate, a change in your job is likely to come along at least a couple of times in your working life. The fact that today’s job market is constantly evolving is definitely a positive. Instead of once being stuck darning holes when your mind is thinking about the mating habits of sea animals, now you can fund yourself while you study and break away from any job situation that is keeping you down. There are important things to remember though: • Do you have the skills required for the career you’re changing to? • Will your strengths benefit you in getting and excelling at the new job? • Will it provide a similar level of income to what you are used to and need to live on? • Most importantly, will the job offer you the fulfillment that you are seeking? • Can you support yourself while you enrol in further study or training?
options High school is a lot of things. It’s where you meet a bunch of people who you want to hang out with and who you’ll still know at 50. It’s where you sit exams. It’s where you discover that you’re really good at biology. It should also be where you start gathering ideas on what you’re going to do when you leave. So start brainstorming!
t might seem years away, but the business of narrowing down what your career will be is an ongoing process. Every day you could learn something new about what your skills are, what interests you, what annoys you, and what you definitely don’t want to be doing for the rest of your life. Keep evaluating and doing as much research as you can into the area where you see yourself working.
In making a career choice, people are expressing their understanding of themselves, which evolves over time. Individuals seek career satisfaction through jobs in which they can express themselves and further develop their sense of identity. A good way to get career ideas is to look at the information that is available about different industries. Often you may have an idea about a broad area you want to work in, but you might not know what skills and qualifications are needed or what the career options are within that area. A look at industry websites can help you come up with some job options based on those areas. So if you are interested in agriculture and forestry and have some skills you think are relevant, you could look at ITOs, universities, and polytechs that specialise in those areas. This would give you a breakdown of the types of jobs in that industry and what they involve. You could also look at whether or not there were good job opportunities in that industry. Looking at industry information can also introduce you to job options you didn’t know existed. You can also get job ideas just by tuning yourself in to job ideas that may be all around you. For example, you may get ideas from: • TV programmes • conversations • newspapers, magazines, and books • paying attention to what people are doing while you’re running errands or walking around town. Take a note of any jobs you find interesting or want to investigate further. Browse the situations vacant section of the newspaper or look on job vacancy websites. Don’t just look at the headings, read about what the job involves and what skills are needed – a job may not be what you think it is. Sometimes, other people may be able to see you more clearly
than you can see yourself. Often they can more clearly identify your strengths. Asking others for help can open up some new career ideas for you. Try asking: • family/whānau • friends • teachers • career advisors • employers • sports coaches • your church or community group leaders. You may also get some ideas by looking at what the people around you do for a job. For example, what are the careers that your immediate and extended family are employed in? What about your friends’ parents? Do any of these appeal?
Work ideas journal
A great way to keep motivated in thinking about your career is by keeping a work ideas journal. After doing some research (such as working through a Holland’s Riasec quiz online), you should now have a list of job ideas that interest you. Record these, and keep adding to the journal with different ideas. Add the information that you find out about each career, and pretty soon, you’ll have some concrete ideas about the career for you. The next step is to take another look at your shortlist based on what you’ve learned about your work values, skills, interests, your commitments, and current situation. You may be able to cross some possibilities off the list. A good way to do this is to ask the questions: • Where do I ultimately want to be in my life? • How should I do it? • How does this fit with my life values and goals? • What could be my next step? • How can I prepare for the next change as I do my current work? Figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life is a work in progress, but the more time you spend doing it, the more informed you will be about what is required in order to nail your dream job.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALIFICATIONS Getting good qualifications is the best way to find a job and earn a good salary or wage. A qualification, or more than one, opens all kinds of doors.
ure, there are some amazing stories out there about entrepreneurs who dropped out of high school and retired as multimillionaires by the time they were 30. This does happen, but the chances are very slim. The best way to ensure you have a career that you enjoy and that pays the bills is to gain qualifications. The more qualified you are, the easier it is to move into the more challenging jobs that pay the best and give the most job satisfaction. Formal qualifications are important as they inform potential employers that you are capable of studying at a known pace and absorbing vast amounts of information. A qualification ensures that you have covered certain materials and have the same frame of reference as other people in your field. • If you have a tertiary qualification, you are likely to earn 30 per cent more than those without a qualification. • If you have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, you are likely to earn at least double that of a school leaver with no qualifications.
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• If you finish a degree, you are likely to earn 25 per cent more than if you drop out partway through. • You are more likely to be employed if you have a tertiary qualification. However, tertiary qualifications are not the only way to increase your salary expectations and work opportunities. Not every job requires a tertiary qualification, and often, tradebased jobs pay a great starting wage, and as you upskill, you move up the salary chain. Furthermore, a qualification from an ITO or Private Training Provider (PTP) might be appropriate for the job you are seeking. Polytechnics, ITOs, and PTPs provide vocational-based education and training. This means their courses of study are focused on getting you a job. On-the-job training and work placement as part of your course means that you’ll be seeing employers and potential employers all the time – what better way is there to line up a great job?
STUDY? WORK? TRAVEL? READ JET. REPEAT
JET Figuring out what to do after high school can be really tough. That’s where the JET series comes in. We’ve profiled people doing all sorts of amazing jobs so that you can get inspiration and some amazing career tips. Ask your teacher or Careers Adviser for the JET series or log on to www.jetseries.co.nz
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The next step after high school is a confusing one, and parents’ frequently heard motto of “go to university” might not be right for you. Here is the full spread of study options. When choosing what kind of institution you will attend, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, where is your qualification offered? If it is only at specific universities, such as Lincoln and Massey in New Zealand and Monash in Australia, then clearly you have to aim to attend one of these places. Be sure to shop around when you’re deciding on your further learning institution. Don’t associate a university degree with being most likely to get you the job you want because the workforce has changed, and ITPs may be the tertiary education providers that have evolved the fastest in order to keep up.
Institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) There are 20 polytechnics in New Zealand. They pride themselves on being based on the practical pursuit of learning. Their courses are focused on getting you a job! The range of subjects at ITPs is exceptional – you can study anything from interior design to finance. Polytechnics offer qualifications to suit students of all ages, backgrounds, and experience. Each institution has a range of degrees and diplomas you can study and some are aimed at specific fields – for example, at Telford, there is a focus on agriculture and farming, whereas CPIT has a wide range of subjects and the only circus training school in New Zealand. New Zealand ITPs • Aoraki Polytechnic • Bay of Plenty Polytechnic • Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology • Eastern Institute of Technology • Manukau Institute of Technology • Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology • North Tech • Open Polytechnic • Otago Polytechnic • Southern Institute of Technology • Tai Poutini Polytechnic • Tairawhiti Polytechnic • Telford Rural Polytechnic • Unitec New Zealand • Universal College of Learning • Waiariki Institute of Technology • Waikato Institute of Technology • Wellington Institute of Technology • Western Institute of Technology Taranaki • Whitireia Community Polytechnic
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Universities Western civilization is founded on the notion that knowledge and the desire to understand and explain this understanding to others is a fundamental human need. This is the purpose universities fulfill. The respect accorded to universities, embodied in the principle of academic freedom, is crucial to the ability of a society to mature and grow. You go to university to get a degree. You study hard and learn how to rationalise, argue, test, research, and think laterally. There are eight universities in Aotearoa, and if you pay to attend them, they will help you (to a certain extent) toward attaining a degree, a Masters, or a PhD, which will be recognised in the real world as a sign you are mature and smart enough to learn and pass assignments and exams. Universities in New Zealand • The University of Auckland • AUT University • The University of Waikato • Victoria University of Wellington • University of Canterbury • University of Otago • Massey University • Lincoln University
os, WÃnanga and Industry training organisations (ITOs) Industry training organisations (ITOs) develop training programmes and qualifications for industries and the government. The number of ITOs changes often as industries can join. They cover all aspects of work. What they do • Organise off-the-job learning. • Organise on-the-job training. • Arrange the assessment of those in training. • Improve workplace health, safety, and skills though training. • Provide up-to-date information to employees and employers. Why it matters ITOs work with employers and the government to make sure everyone in their particular industry knows what they’re doing, is receiving the best training, and accessing apprenticeships. They: • Assess specific learning needs and give feedback on any areas (such as reading or maths) that might need some extra help or tutoring. Usually extra tutoring can be arranged at no cost. • Develop a personal training plan. This sets goals and tells the person exactly what they need to learn to achieve their qualification. • Meet with the employer on site at least four times a year to make sure they’re staying on track to achieve their goals. • Provide support with the completion of an apprenticeship and award a qualification, which is recognised as the industry standard.
Wãnanga Wānanga are New Zealand tertiary education institutions that focus on practical learning, as well as embracing a teaching and learning philosophy that is built around Māori culture and knowledge. In traditional times, the word wānanga conveyed meanings related to highly evolved knowledge, lore, and occult arts reached through “discussion” to arrive at deeper understanding. In wānanga classes, students learn from each other just as much as the teacher. At wānanga, you learn how to learn. They also offer: • Bridging certificates. • Diplomas. • Bachelor’s degrees. • Postgraduate qualifications such as Masters and PhDs. Many of these programmes can be studied part-time during weekdays, in the evening, at the weekend, or from home. Programmes are delivered in a uniquely Māori environment and are based on a teaching that provides an inclusive, interactive, and nurturing learning experience. There are three wānanga in Aotearoa. Each has campuses throughout the country: • Te Wānanga o Aotearoa • Te Wānanga o Raukawa • Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuirangi.
Quality qualifications The cost of industry training is subsidised, and you will be guided through the whole process – but you need to know a few things. Industry training usually means you have no need for a student loan. However, you may have to pay for course-related costs for New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) registration, training materials, and the support from the ITO. The best way to find out about your fees is to talk to your employer, modern apprenticeship coordinator, or an ITO. The qualification you get at the end of the apprenticeship depends on your industry. It will usually be a national certificate at levels 3 and 4. NZQA qualifications are recognised throughout New Zealand and can even be transported overseas. There are also special trade and business qualifications administered by NZQA.
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Words of wisdom from
There’s something about Michelle Pawson that invites confidence. She often has people approach her, seeking advice on ‘how to sort their lives out’. Michelle approaches the situation by zoning in on the underlying reasons for the confusion and stripping away the clutter and emotion. This is a good way to make big decisions. Strip away the clutter. Michelle tells JET about her own journey and how she came to be in a top job at the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture.
s a child I was both curious and fascinated by the natural world – in I have continued to study extra-murally over the last seven years whist particular, the sea. The patterns, colours, and functions of the marine working. Upon entering the workforce, I realised there were a variety of plants and animals intrigued me. I can still recall the experience of disciplines (environmental law, sustainable development, and environmental seeing my first octopus; it was a mix of delight and disbelief. planning) I wanted to further understand and found the challenge of learning Growing up in the 80s – in the pre-internet world – museums, stimulating. This study has accumulated in a Graduate Certificate in Resource encyclopaedias, and Sunday night National Geographic documentaries were Management, and last year, I completed a Masters of Planning. the source of a lot of information. Although as a young person I struggled with I have been lucky to undertake some of this study abroad via a summer the notion that someday I would have to “be” something, I guess my path has school Certificate in Environmental Leadership at Berkeley (I would been somewhat paved by my interest in the natural world and humanity’s recommend studying abroad if the opportunity presents itself). Now, impact on it. however, I have entered into an agreement with my sister that I won’t For me, the transition from school to university was challenging. You’re commence another university qualification until my niece (who is three basically being asked to work out a career path while you are still piecing years old), has at least finished one. Studying while working is achievable together who you are and what your place in the world is. The beginnings of but difficult. You have to weigh up the costs and benefits, and you have my university study were very much an effort of trial and error; I dabbled in a to be realistic about what you can achieve. When something you enjoy number of different disciplines, exploring possibilities and subjects of interest. becomes a chore, it is time to draw the curtain. I was mindful that my dabbling had to be grounded in the reality that one day I I have worked in a number of roles for different government agencies would need to turn these pursuits into employment. and research providers. I currently work as a senior analyst within the I stayed true to my interest in the environment and graduated with a BSc Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. My role involves writing policy and in zoology and ecology. I continued on to legislation, advising Ministers, and study a Postgraduate Diploma in Marine working with the aquaculture industry to Science, which I enjoyed. foster sustainable development within Life is long and you never know when I believe it is important to spend some environmental limits. Occasionally, I opportunities will present themselves; if you time working out what you enjoy and get out on the water in the field and are staring too far ahead, you can overlook what does and doesn’t work for you. through work have travelled to some The only person who has the answers amazing parts of the country. It is a the things hidden in plain sight. to these questions is you. Personally, I challenging role that I enjoy; it provides enjoy marine science, but suffer notorious me with a sense of satisfaction that I am seasickness and will never have the physical stature to endure field research, contributing towards environmental awareness and positive change. so during my study, I shifted my focus towards natural resource policy and the Whatever you pursue, it will involve making decisions. When I’m making social sciences with the idea of a more office-based career. decisions, I approach them by attempting to strip away the noise, clutter, It’s important to remember there are a multitude of paths and a range of and emotion. Simplifying your thinking helps to bring focus (writing lists different journeys you can take. I think, maybe unduly, too much emphasis is of pros and cons is a reliable approach). Once you have come to a decision placed on the end point. Life is long and you never know when opportunities (if you have the luxury of time) apply the overnight test, which is simple: will present themselves. If you are staring too far ahead, you can overlook the if you wake up in the morning and you still agree with your decision, then things hidden in plain sight. trust your intuition and go with it. After four years at university, I felt informed, but that I lacked the wider I think fear stifles a lot of decision making. It’s not always easy to be context for this knowledge, so I headed abroad to travel. Growing up in brave, but taking risks and making mistakes are how you learn and grow as New Zealand – on the periphery of the world – provoked a a person. The important part is, if you fail, do not be afraid to pick yourself curiosity to adventure and explore. However, travelling up, try again, and carry the lessons you learned forward with you. stimulated more questions than answers and further By no means do I hold many of the answers to the puzzle that is fuelled my desire to pursue a career that was life, but I will share with you one of the more important environmentally meaningful. After a stint lessons I have learned in my life: don’t overlook the travelling, I returned to New Zealand conversations and experiences you have in everyday to complete a Masters of Marine life. We can over-complicate life in our efforts to Science and began my understand. Simple awareness and perspective of career working within what is real and essential is important to not lose central government. sight of.
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the only thing missing is you The last year of high school can be pretty hard going. Student executive duties, combined with exams, extracurricular activities, and a busy social life mean that thinking about going straight into work, training, or further education is daunting.
oing a gap year can take some of the pressure off and allow you to think about exactly what you want to do when you get back. After 10 years in school, you may feel like it’s time for a break – or maybe you want to save some money to help cover your tertiary fees and avoid a student loan. Gap years can take different forms; they usually involve some kind of work or volunteering, and some travel (or quite a lot)! But they can also involve taking a year off to work and save money for further education. You may want to move to a larger city and stay with friends or family while getting a bit of work experience in the area you want to be employed in. Experiences overseas, in culturally diverse communities and countries can have a big influence on the way you think about work. A popular option is to work at a boarding school in England or Scotland and use term holidays to travel to neighbouring countries. Another option is to teach English overseas. Asian countries are popular as destinations for TESOL teachers; the pay is generally pretty good and the chance to see a completely different way of life is intriguing. However, it is important to remember that some countries require a tertiary degree before you can teach English. Volunteering is another great option. Companies like Latitude and Volunteer Services Abroad (VSA) provide the infrastructure that enable you to get straight in and help out. You can be posted to a number of developing countries to help with aid projects, to teach in schools or to lend your skills to a project. Camp America is one of the most well-known work experience programmes in the world. The Camp America experience gives you 30 days before your visa starts to explore USA, and 30 days grace after your visa to
travel after your summer camp job has finished. This is a great way to spend time in America. There are many reasons for taking a year out and there are heaps of options should you decide to do so. There are several advantages to having a working year or a gap year. You can: • experience the world of work in a real way • become more mature • become more independent and experienced in your decision-making • clarify your study and career future, and make new or more informed decisions • work with people from different walks of life • experience different types of workplaces • learn new skills. A study conducted by the Ministry of Education found that among those with lower school achievement, students who took a year off before starting their tertiary studies – particularly students from low-decile schools – showed higher levels of performance at university than those who progressed directly to tertiary study after leaving school. Students who perform below average at school are more likely to succeed at university if they take a gap year. “The improvement in university performance for students who took a gap year probably derives from the fact that only motivated or confident students enrol in tertiary studies after taking a break,” the researchers concluded. Taking a year to work or volunteer overseas, or work to save for further education makes a lot of sense. Talk to teachers, parents, and friends about whether it might work for you.
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KEEP CALM AND CARR Y ON ia Prebble
If you don’t know what to do full-stop, education is a really good thing to do. It keeps your brain active, and it gives you a valid excuse to get out of bed in the morning.
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Antonia Prebble takes a break from her intensely busy work schedule to talk to JET about acting, life, making decisions and what she wish she knew when she left high school. While we’d all love to believe the hype about the leading lady who demands 12 vases of white lilies before she steps foot on set, this is a far cry from Prebble’s demeanor. She is humble and friendly and truly values hard work. Here at JET we couldn’t think of anyone better to ask a few of the big, tricky life questions.
JET. Antonia, what did you wish you knew when you left high school? ANTONIA. I would have told myself not to worry so much. I thought there was a huge divide between student life and adult life, and I felt quite unprepared for what this ‘adult world’ would be. In retrospect, it’s actually a smooth transition. I think I thought people would expect me to suddenly know things, but they didn’t expect that at all. I’m fortunate because I’ve always known that I wanted to be an actress, but a lot of my friends at high school had no idea what they wanted to do and were quite anxious about it. My advice to them, and to anyone who feels uncertain about what their next step after school might be, is not to worry. The majority of students feel exactly the same way, and there is time to figure out what you like. There are so many jobs out there that, as a teenager, you’ve never even heard of. I think education is a great way to expand your mind, and discover what it is you might have a passion for. Even if you don’t have a passion for anything, study something that remotely interests you. Chose that and follow that because you don’t have to commit to anything forever. Just see where it leads, take a step in some direction, and something will unfold from that because if you just stay still, nothing can really happen. J. How do you make big decisions? A. When facing a big decision, I always try to operate from a place of integrity. Your personal barometer can get quite clouded by circumstances. Maybe you’re getting offered something that seems great, but you actually know it is going to compromise your values. I try to trust my values, my instincts, the stuff I know is right or wrong. I use that as my bottom line. Also, I talk to people. I really believe two or three or ten heads are better than one. I talk to people I trust, who have experience or who have good, logical minds. The process of talking to people clears things up in your head. I try to imagine all the possible repercussions on both sides, so that when it comes to the time I have to decide, I can trust my instincts in that moment because I know I’ve given the whole situation careful consideration.
The love of performing
As anyone who’s tried and failed at charades will know, there are those among us who love performing. Actors are the kind of people who don’t just excel at charades; they envision the world in a room and draw on a huge backlog of expressions, feelings, and experiences to articulate a character. Long story short, they love performing.
A Day in the Life Antonia’s days are anything but typical, but she gives us a breakdown on how things go on the Medicine Woman set. I get up really early, maybe 5am. I have a shower, and that’s all I do at home. I try to sleep in for the maximum amount of time possible. In the car on the way to work, I do some vocal warm-up exercises like humming or singing along to the radio or things like that. When I arrive, I go straight into wardrobe and put on part of my costume. Then I go into make-up. This can take varying amounts of time – at the moment, it’s a couple of hours. While I’m there, some very kind person will bring me a cup of coffee and then I become human, and maybe breakfast (a couple of bits of toast). After make-up, I’ll finish getting dressed and filming will start at 7.30am. We have a lines run and then we block out the moves of the scene. Filming goes for 10 and three-quarter hours. It takes a long time to get all make-up off, and so I don’t leave until about 7pm. This is kind of a worst-case scenario – it’s not always like this.
J. What do you enjoy about acting? A. There is something in me that is just drawn to performance. I have to use my understanding of myself, and of people in general, in order to connect to the character, and I suppose I am drawn to that process, which is weirdly creative and analytical at the same time. J. What is your work philosophy? A. Some people can be more casual about it, but I am very hardworking. Acting kind of swamps my life; I think about it all the time, when I’m working and when I’m not working. I always want to do my best because I’m very grateful for any job I get. I try never to take anything for granted. J. What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming an actor? A. Go for it, but be practical and sensible at the same time. You need an agent. Go and visit as many agents as you can. You need a professional headshot. Take your CV along with you; it’s almost like a job interview. Be prepared. Work out what you want to say to them, talk about why you want to be an actor and what you can bring to acting. But do it in a natural Kiwi way. New Zealanders don’t respond well to any sort of arrogance. As well as that, get as much experience as you possibly can. You can learn something valuable from every experience. When I was young, I did every summer holiday acting course I could. I looked in the newspaper for repertory theatre shows because I really liked it but also because it helps you understand the industry so much better. J. You’re currently studying; what are you enrolled in and who are you doing it with? A. I’m in my tenth year of a BA in English Literature [laughs], although this semester, I’m doing a bit of French as well. I started it at Victoria University when I left high school – part-time as I was working as well. When I started Outrageous, I switched to Massey so I could study extra-murally [by distance]. I think studying at the same time as trying to be an actor is a really good thing. If you don’t know what to do full-stop, education is a really good thing to do. It keeps your brain active, and it gives you a valid excuse to get out of bed in the morning. Acting can be full on, but there is a lot of down time, so it’s really important to have something that means something important to you. Otherwise, it can be very demoralising. Currently based in Auckland, Antonia has a lead role in the feature film Medicine Woman – an adaptation of a Witi Ihimaera novel by the same name. After its completion, Prebble will continue to challenge herself with other acting projects. Be sure to keep an eye on this immensely talented leading lady.
The big break: Outrageous Fortune
In the hit series Outrageous Fortune, Antonia’s character, Loretta, is best remembered for scheming her way out of high school and into the criminal underworld where, despite mum Cheryl’s new-found desire for a crime-free life, Loretta thinks she belongs. Among her exploits are the burning down of two buildings, the blackmailing of her principal, co-running an illegal party pills business, and last but not least, running a brothel. In one episode, she got Sparky to burn down the video hut where she worked, and incidentally, the pet shop next store caught on fire. Antonia thought everyone in New Zealand would hate her guts. They didn’t seem to. Antonia says: Outrageous seemed to have a licence to do things like that. The writers and
producers always expected to receive heaps of complaints, but they never did. We got away with a lot.” J. Tell me about working on Outrageous Fortune. A. Working on Outrageous was really fun. It was an inspiring working environment to be in. Everyone there was really good at what they did; everyone knew we were working on something special. It was very performance-based and character-driven, so there was a large amount of freedom given to the actors. On some sets, you are told where to stand and where and how to move, but not on Outrageous. I don’t see the guys from the show as much as I’d like – it was such an intense time – but because we’re actors, we’ve all moved onto other intense things. I do see a bit of Robyn Malcolm and Siobhan [Marshall], though.
www.jetseries.co.nz JET Career Guide // 13
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n her commencement speech to the class of Harvard 2008 – probably some of the most successful young people anywhere in the world – Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling talked about the benefits of failure. When she herself started university, Rowling was convinced that the only thing that she wanted to do, ever, was write novels. This was at odds with what her parents wanted for her. “My parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that would never pay a mortgage or secure a pension.” They hoped that she would take a vocational
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Commencement speech: 1. the address given at a ceremony in which degrees or diplomas are conferred on university students.
I've really mucKed up this time
degree; she wanted to study English literature. “A compromise was reached that in retrospect satisfied nobody, and I went up to study Modern Languages. Hardly had my parents’ car rounded the corner at the end of the road than I ditched German and scuttled off down the Classics corridor,” Rowling says. Rowling cannot remember telling her parents that she was studying Classics: “they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day.” ”Of all the subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to name one less useful than Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys to an executive bathroom.” Rowling does not blame her parents for their
point of view. She believes there is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction – it is when you’re about 16. She also wants to make it clear that she doesn’t criticise her parents for hoping that she would never experience poverty. “They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes, depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships.” What Rowling feared most was not poverty but failure. When she was at university, she had spent a lot of time in the coffee bar writing stories and little time at lectures. She learned what so many students do: the way to pass examinations. That
was the measure of success in her life and that of her classmates. After university, Rowling found herself in a situation that she had never imagined for herself. Her biggest fear had reared its ugly head. “Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.” Does failure have benefits? Rowling truly believes so. To her, failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. She stopped pretending that she was anything other than what she was and began to direct all her energy into finishing the only work that mattered to her. Had she really succeeded at anything else, Rowling might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena she believed she truly belonged. “I was set free because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.
You might never fail on the scale that Rowling believes she did, but some failure in life is inevitable. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. “Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.” Rowling emerged from her setback and she was, for ever after, secure in her ability to survive. “You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.” Given a Time-Turner, J. K. Rowling would tell her 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. “Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.”
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www.jetseries.co.nz JET Career Guide // 15
JET has roughly divided the world of work and the stories we’ve featured in this Career Guide into sectors. Below is a bit of info about these various sectors, including skill shortages and surpluses, in particular, industries, lists of amazing careers, and top places to study. In other words, get brainstorming! Creative
Keywords: Think outside the square Sales work is available across all types of industries. Over 18,000 people work as sales representatives. Advertising employs nearly 6,000 people; market research employs just fewer than 3,000 people. The film, television, radio, and media industry has undergone a period of sustained growth over the last decade. In 1996, 7,187 people were employed in the industry; by 2006, this number had increased to 11,154. However, competition for entry-level jobs is excessively high. Graduates often have to do unpaid internships before they find employment. The Department of Labour estimates that the number of people working in the visual arts and design fields fell by a few hundred between 2006 and Business and the Public Sector 2010 to about 12,000 people. Keyword: logical/analytical Because of the high numbers of design graduates, 43,000 people worked in government jobs in competition for most entry-level design jobs is high. December 2011, slightly down on the previous Employers often prefer to hire people who have year. specialist knowledge and/or experience with design More than 62,5000 people work in the programmes. People wanting to enter design jobs finance, accounting, and insurance industries in may have to work on a short-term or freelance basis, New Zealand. This is where some of the most or volunteer their time, before they can get full-time well-paid jobs can be found. work. Careers include: Public sector: economist, Careers include: analyst, politician, local government Performing arts: actor, model, entertainer, dancer, representative, personal assistant, planner, political artist, singer, stunt person. scientist, sociologist, statistician, Design: graphic designer, animator, art director, Administration: communications officer, employment relations manager, human resources, photography, website developer, illustrator, architect, light technician, make-up artist, tailor/dressmaker. office manager, production manager, small Marketing and media: market research, brand business owner, reception, administration. management, advertising, promotions, public Financial services: auditor, broker, bank teller, relations, advertising, event management, copywriter, financial adviser, accountant, insurance loss journalist, editor, press secretary, publisher, adjustor, trader. marketing. Where to do it: the finance schools at Where to do it: Massey University is known for its Auckland, Otago, Victoria and AUT University are all excellent. To work in the public sector, you can film and design school, Toi Whaakari. The University of Canterbury has a great journalism school; study just about anything – politics, economics, Whitireia has a good technical journalism school. English literature, geography, development AUT is known for its marketing courses. studies, the list goes on.
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