Earlier this year we worked with the NSW Government to survey our users and found that one in five of you weren’t sure what career you wanted to pursue after school. For guys, it’s nearly half (45%).

We know it’s super common to feel a little unsure about the future sometimes, and with half the year gone we tend to feel the pressure a bit more. We just want you to know that it’s okay – and you’re not alone.

From our research we reckon a lot of this indecision can be traced back to the fact we just don’t know what our options are outside of uni. Getting a degree is great for some, but for many others, the emphasis on uni means missing out on another really important pathway: vocational education and training, or VET for short.

If you’re weighing up your options at the moment, be sure to read up on what VET has to offer because there’s probably a course, traineeship or apprenticeship that’s perfect for you. You can get a qualification in heaps of interesting areas like aerospace engineering, digital media, IT, tourism, youth work and more.

The training you receive from VET is so much more hands-on as well. Instead of sticking to the theory of your chosen subject, you also get practical skills that are necessary across different jobs and industries. You’re taught by industry experts with current experience working in the field, and smaller class sizes mean you’ll never get lost in the uni lecture hall crowd.

There are also fee-free apprenticeships available in over 120 courses, which means no training costs for students or employers. VET apprenticeships and traineeships are a sweet way to learn because you actually get paid while you study, and you spend most of your time actually doing real work for a company. Click here to check out the 20 most popular apprenticeship courses in NSW.

What’s great is that lots of girls are starting to consider careers in industries traditionally dominated by men – that is, nearly one in four are considering a career in science, technology, IT or engineering. 33% of girls are also planning a career in healthcare and social services which are areas predicted to have huge growth in the future.

But at the end of the day there’s still so many of us who are a bit undecided about what happens next, especially with all the pressure to go to uni. We reckon it’s normal at this stage and it’s important to question these things. But know that even if you’re still feeling lost now, you’ve got plenty of options out there and the right one is waiting to be found.

Start thinking about your actual skills and interests, because chances are there’s a VET course to support these. Talk to your parents. Let them know what your aspirations are and help them understand that it’s your future, not theirs.

If they’re not buying it, here’s a few quotes from some of our readers who have lived the VET experience:

“I graduated high school with 3 certificates and got to explore 4 different career paths all while I was in high school! We need to shine the light on VET more and start letting students know that VET is a much less expensive and extremely interesting/hands on way to develop a career pathway for yourself!”

21, F

“All the pressure was to go to uni and a lot of people in my year were aiming for it just to graduate and [didn’t] realise that they could go study VET for half the amount of time, a fraction of the cost and get into the industry sooner. So basically the most difficult transition was coming out of this institution that has conditioned you to go down one pathway and one pathway only, just to realise there are so many options and different ways to get into your desired career or to actually help you find out what career you want.”

19, F

Click here for more information about the benefits of VET.