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    DREAM BIG: Horsham College students Ally Janetzki, left, and Mikayla Treacy believe their volunteering efforts will boost their chances of gaining early entrance into university. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Volunteering boosts career prospects for students


Years of voluntary service has given Horsham College students a head start when pursuing further education prospects. 

Year-12 students Mikayla Treacy and Ally Janetzki believe work experience and volunteering opportunities they completed during their time at high school would make them stand out among other university applicants. 

They have applied for La Trobe University’s early admissions program and are hoping to secure a position for 2021. 

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Labour market researchers predict the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to make the jobs market more competitive, particularly for young people entering the workforce. 

The students believe this is why all their peers should be taking on any experiences to boost their prospects.  

“I think universities perceive it as a positive thing and they trust and respect the way I am – they would see me as more of an adult than a student,” Mikayla said. 

“To know what your goals are going to be and where you’re going to go in the future is a hard decision to make, but it’s important for your schooling and how much effort and hard work you put in.”

Mikayla has applied for early entry into a Bachelor of Primary Education at La Trobe. 

In year-nine, she started a Duke of Edinburgh program, which she believes opened up a world of opportunities for her education. 

She said as part of the program she started volunteering at a football and netball club to assist with coaching, umpiring and general duties. 

“I heard from previous years how the Duke of Edinburgh program helped develop personal skills, really helped with mental health and showed the importance of volunteering,” she said. 

“That motivated me to keep helping out and be involved. 

“I know people respect me for volunteering and it creates a happy community environment.” 

Mikayla said while in year 10 she also completed work experience at Horsham Primary School, where she gained a first-hand look into her chosen profession.  

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, but this experience got me more interested in the course, looking at what’s needed and continuing to work hard to achieve that,” she said. 

Mikayla acknowledged it was difficult for most students to choose a career, but she encouraged her peers to ‘have a go’ at any opportunity. 

“Don’t stress if you don’t know, even take the next year off and try out a few different things,” she said. 

“You don’t always have to know, but there’s always opportunities to find out what you want to do.”

Victorian students faced significant challenges at the start of year when they were forced into remote study arrangements for the majority of term two. 

Ally said despite the challenges, the experience had encouraged her to push even harder. 

She has applied for early entry into a Bachelor of Psychology at La Trobe. 

“This year presented extra challenges for the year 12s. It’s already been a pretty hard year, but it’s also encouraged me to push harder and just keep getting through it,” she said. 

“It’s going to make our year level stronger and it’s going to make us more persistent.” 

Ally volunteered at Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Co-operative through the college’s Duke of Edinburgh program, helping indigenous children with schoolwork and after-school activities. 

She later completed her year-10 work experience with the same organisation, which sparked her interest in the field of psychology. 

“I really enjoy being able to support people and understand why people feel different things,” she said.

“I feel like I connect with people on a different level, so I feel like if I were to study it, I would really enjoy it.” 

Ally said she believed her service to the community would help her university application stand out. 

“I was pretty undecided on what university I wanted to go to and the exact career path I wanted go down, but volunteering helped me develop as a person and probably mature a lot quicker,” she said. 

The entire July 29, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire July 29, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!