Okay, you know you are working towards a degree with a strong practical focus and you know you will be getting out and into schools throughout your studies. However, Principals, just like other employers, definitely look for those who take initiative and do more. They want to know that you can be passionate, compassionate and engaged.
Develop your Networks
Networking is extremely important in finding out about industry related experience whilst studying. If you are interested in a particular organisation or agency, do your research on where they advertise or find out who the person is in the organisation that you could be speaking to about an opportunity. Also, tap into your Professional Associations. Lecturers and tutors are a great place to start for suggestions about who you should contact given you field of interest.
Work Experience and Work Cover
Take on some work experience with organisations such as Kids’ Camps or even take on one hour a week with something like the School Volunteer Program. If volunteering can’t fit with your timetable then work on developing your interests to gain additional skills. (See the table below for volunteering and training links across Australia)
You need to have work cover insurance to work in Australia. Voluntary organisations will provide this cover but for additional non-for-course-credit placements Curtin Careers & Employment Centre can provide this cover.
Programs of Interest and a Plan of Attack
Browse through the programs that are available through general volunteering websites or look into community groups and peak bodies to find out what the requirements are to allow you to devote your skills and time to a particular cause or cohort (check the Links pages of individual national Council of Social Service members).
Consider your values – what is important to you, and select a program or cause that will benefit both parties. Depending on your circumstances, you might only be able to offer a few hours a week or even a month, or you may be in the position to manage longer community commitments either in Australia or overseas.
If you are not adding community service onto your resume then perhaps you can also think about additional skills that educators might look upon favourably e.g. sport, music, bush walking, languages, computing, design skills and visual art.
A Snapshot of Voluntary Organisations & Training Opportunities Across Australia
Australian Volunteers International
Australian Youth Mentoring Program
Centre for Advocacy, Support and Education for Refugees
Girl Guides and Contacts by State
Go Volunteer (Volunteering Australia)
Kids Camps Inc. (WA)
QLD Community Organisations and Volunteering
Reading Writing Hotline
St John Ambulance and First Aid Training Programs
School Volunteer Program (WA)
Seek Volunteer Program Search
Victoria Volunteer Portal
Youth Central Victoria (List of Volunteering Opportunities)
Youth of the Streets (QLD)