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Future Work Opportunities

It is not always easy to know where the growth industries of tomorrow will come from. Who in the 1980s, for example, would have predicted web-based careers would be so important within 20 years? Certainly not the man who came up with the idea for the worldwide web, Tim Berners-Lee. Those who manage to predict where future work opportunities will come from usually stand to make the most out of them. What’s more, the information is usually freely available. This guide will help you decide where your opportunities will come from and, most importantly, how you make the most of them.

Skills shortages

While Australia’s economy is currently thriving, there are a number of skills shortages which threaten its future growth. These also present a golden opportunity for you as a future worker. Imagine if you could work in an industry currently lacking skilled workers. Perhaps the easiest place to look is the Australian skills shortages list - a list compiled by the Australian government detailing where workers are most needed. It’s designed for those thinking of migrating to Australia but could also be useful for you as a potential trainee. Alternatively, check out the quarterly newsletter released by the Australian Government.

The skills shortage list only focuses on tradespeople, but there are also shortages in office-based roles. Unemployment amongst managers and professionals is currently about 1%, a staggeringly low rate given that it includes people who are ‘between jobs.’ Think of contacting the professional body responsible for the industry you are interested in, as well as your state or territory government. Remember skills shortages are also dependent on region.

There is also currently a big shortage of workers for the resources industry - miners and associated occupations. The need is so great it is currently defined as chronic by the Australian government.

Employability Skills

Whilst apprenticeships and traineeships offer the best opportunities of enhanced employability skills for those interested in working in trades, there are many different paths for those who want to work elsewhere. If you’re interested in careers once known as ‘professions’ – for example accountancy, law and financial services – then consider contacting big companies to see if you can do any internships or placements during your studies. Most have some kind of vacation scheme, usually designed to coincide with the university holidays.

Work Experience

If you can’t get a temporary placement with a company with a formal scheme, don’t worry! Remember, you are really at a very early stage in your career. Instead, think about working whilst you study. Even if it’s not in a field which interests you, it will be a great way to learn about the world of work and will help you when it comes to talking about your skills and potential at future interviews.


Think about how you will transfer what you have learned during your studies to a professional environment. If you enjoyed working on projects with other people, or even playing in sports teams, perhaps that is a sign of your skills as a team player. Similarly, if you liked presentations, that might be a sign of your good communication skills. Remember, you can have employability skills without necessarily having been employed. Never underestimate the value of volunteer work. Employers are far more interested in work you have performed than what you get paid to do it.


You can never have too many skills and the best way to make the most of new opportunities is to be in the right place at the right time. Make sure that you have as wide a range of skills as possible; there will always be time to focus on one particular area later on.

Don’t forget to visit our Training and Development page for more information about working in the resource industry.

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