Hajar proves VET courses can fast track to real work faster than Uni

At the end of year 12, a friend encouraged me to apply to do a vocational (VET) course at the Australian Careers Business College (ACBC). It was explained to me that unlike university, the courses provided by ACBC would enable me to get hands-on experience and gain employment. My parents were keen for me to go to university, so when I got my ATAR, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Communication instead of a VET course. My friend decided to enrol at ACBC and study at university part-time.

While I was in my first year at university, my friend told me that she had already gained employment as a legal assistant. I was surprised that she could gain employment whilst I was still studying theory at university. In my second year at university, I started to become unsure about the degree I was pursuing. It seemed to be all theory and assessments and did not provide any hands-on experience in the field.  I tried applying for Legal Assistant and Junior Paralegal jobs but was told I didn’t have the necessary skills or experience for these roles.

In my third year at university, I became more disillusioned with my law degree because I wasn’t getting the experience I needed. I spoke to law graduates who told me that they couldn’t get jobs because they didn’t know the basics of filing legal documents and legal office procedures. I really wanted to get my foot into the door of a law firm, so I decided to enrol into a Diploma of Legal Services at ACBC. Despite being in my third year at university, I soon learned that I didn’t know many basic things needed for entry-level work in the legal industry.

ACBC organised work placement for me at ‘Re-Quest International Immigration Law’. Getting hands-on experience, which I wasn’t able to do at university, made me realise that I enjoyed the legal field after all, therefore I continued studying my law and communications degree part time whilst completing my Diploma at ACBC. In addition, a few weeks into work placement, I was offered employment with my host employer.

Having more confidence, I started to look at other legal positions and I applied for a full-time position at the law firm ‘Clarence Chambers’. I applied for the position but was not sure that I would get the job. The Careers Advisors at ACBC helped me prepare for this interview. The people at Clarence Chambers told me that they were very impressed with my cover letter, resume, and my experience and knowledge of legal office procedures. As a result of the Vocational Education and training and industry experience gained through work experience, the firm offered me a position to start once I graduate from ACBC.

I know that studying a VET course at ACBC gave me a step up into the industry. I gained the skills to work in all entry-level areas of law and by the time I finish university I will have much more experience than others who have completed only a university degree.  My Vocational course enabled me to learn things I would have never learned in university and to get paid work was a huge bonus. The course gave me hands-on experience and practical skills, and made me more employable. It made all the difference in setting me apart from other job applicants.

Based on my experience, my parents have now seen the benefits of vocational education and are planning to enrol my younger siblings in this pathway.

Hajar Ahmadi

ACBC Diploma of Legal Services graduate 2017.


10 Tips to Help Graduates Succeed in Their First Job

To help recent college grads transition from the classroom to the office, here are 10 tips for success.

1. Be open-minded

Try and work with as many different types of people and in as many different situations as possible. Volunteer for interesting projects, introduce yourself to someone new every day and embrace the uncomfortable nature of not knowing everything.

2. Be measured

Make sure you and your manager share the same point of view on success. Your daily priorities should align to with the broader business goals.

Do a weekly check-in to ensure what you do is material to the success of the overall business.

3. Be collaborative

In college you needed to be self-focused. Now it is about the business. The old saying “there is no ‘I’ in team” is 100 percent true. If you cannot collaborate, you will have a hard time being successful, and you are not going to get a lot of fulfillment out of your day. Don’t be a lone wolf.

4. Be patient

Things are going to go wrong. Use these moments in time as opportunities to accelerate the development of your own self-awareness and growth. You can’t run away when something doesn’t go your way. Stay involved and be an embodiment of the change you want to see.

5. Be flexible

Even if you don’t love your first job, do it well and find ways to empower others to do their jobs well. Proving that you can useful and resourceful will make your leaders, co-workers and even other companies want you on their team.

An entry-level job is an opportunity. If you can be good for the business, the business will be good to you. If you can persist and do a job you don’t like well, imagine what you can do when you find your passion.

6. Be resilient

In college, when you fail it’s a sign that you didn’t learn and may not graduate. It is very black and white. In your career you will fail, and when you do, you learn hugely valuable lessons that you can take with you the rest of your working life. Handle your mistakes with grace and turn them into action rather than inaction. Don’t hang your head. Bounce back and take what you have learned and move forward.

7. Be proactive

Some people want things to happen, some people wish things would happen and some people make things happen. Get involved in the business and find ways to be proactive. Utilize your strengths to drive impact, identify areas of weakness where your involvement in certain projects will help you refine your skillset.

8. Be humble

Any great entrepreneur, artist or athlete will tell you that they did not get ascend their career alone. You will need many mentors throughout your career so be open-minded. You will find interesting people you can learn from all over the place.

9. Be curious

Learning never ends. Stay on top of what is happening around you. Follow trends that will help your business, read books that interest you. If you maintain a passion for learning you never feel irrelevant.

10. Be gracious

As you find success, make sure you highlight the “how” over the “what”. It isn’t just about scoring touchdowns and putting points on the board. How you got there is likely the result of work others have done to help you out. Bring people along for the ride and never dismiss the contributions other have made.

To read the full article, click here.

ACBC Approved to Deliver VET for HSC

The Australian Careers Business College (ACBC) has been approved by the NSW Department of Education to be part of the external delivery of VET in schools for four years beginning in 2017.

ACBC will offer six qualifications for HSC students across Business, Travel and Children’s Services from February 2017 for four years.

Schools will now be able to select ACBC as a provider over the next few months in preparation for delivery beginning in 2017.

ACBC will deliver programs at its campuses in Liverpool, Parramatta and Wollongong. The approved programs include:

  • BSB30115 Certificate III in Business
  • BSB30415 Certificate in Business Administration
  • FNS30315 Certificate III in Accounts Administration
  • FNS30115 Certificate III In Financial Services
  • SIOT31312 Certificate III in Travel (*SOA)
  • CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.

With a strong track record, ACBC’s aim is to assist students to excel and achieve their potential through the EVET program.

Networking Tips for Introverts

Successful networking can be difficult for anyone, but it’s especially challenging if you’re introverted and shy by nature. Here, experts share networking tips that should make the process easier, if not completely painless.

1. Find your personal networking style
“Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.” When you’re networking, it can help to be up front and honest about how intimidating the process is, and how it’s difficult to break the ice with new people. Doing so can actually help you break the ice and forge a connection with whomever you’re speaking.

2. Focus on advice, not a specific job
Most professional networking is done in pursuit of a new job, and that fact can make networking awkward. Make sure you’re taking the time to broaden the conversation beyond ‘What job can you give me?’.

Introverts can be great at one-on-one conversations, so take each networking opportunity to develop greater common ground with your connection, beyond looking for a job.

3. Find ways to demonstrate your passion and skills
Introverts don’t often display passion in the ways an extrovert will, so it’s important to find alternative ways to express what excites you professionally, as well as what you’ve accomplished. “Since introverts often excel at one-on-one communication, this can come in the form of telling stories about the kinds of things you have enjoyed in the past.”

“Try and steer the conversation toward talking about your work, what you’ve created, and your accomplishments rather than talking about yourself, and your passion and your love for the work you do will shine through.” Having a professional portfolio also can help give you some concrete examples to point to, and some instant talking points if you’re feeling nervous.

4. Use technology to your advantage
LinkedIn has transformed the way people connect to one another, and it’s a great tool for introverts who struggle with networking in person. While it’s not a substitute for in-person networking, it is a great way to figure out who you need to connect to and why.

5. Recognize it doesn’t have to be perfect
Introverts tend to berate themselves over social situations that an extrovert would never think twice about. That in itself reinforces their squeamishness about networking.

“You should recognize that nothing is ever perfect when dealing with human interactions. Some will go better than others, but merely good meetings are not the enemy of the ideal meeting. Even bad meetings are opportunities to learn.”

Read the full article here.

Proposed new VET Student Loans scheme unfair to good VET FEE HELP providers

Media release
For immediate release

Liverpool, NSW – Wednesday 5th October 2016

Proposed new VET Student Loans scheme unfair to good VET FEE HELP providers

The federal government has today announced a new program to replace the VET FEE HELP income contingent student loan program. The new program to be called the ‘VET Student Loans scheme’ will operate from 1 January 2017 (pending parliament review).

Ann Elisha, a twenty year veteran of the VET industry and CEO of Australian Careers Business College (ACBC) says “Whilst there is no doubt that the management of the program by the government required a review, the new proposed program will disadvantage quality VFH providers, with an outstanding record of employment outcomes and higher education pathways like ACBC”.

Ms Elisha went on to say “We were one of the first providers to be approved for VFH in NSW in 2009 and as a result more than 3000 students have graduated from our programs and begun their journey to gainful employment or further study. This is 3000 young people who would otherwise been unlikely to participate in further education. I fully support actions to punish wrong-doers but the new program will severely damage many good operators”.

A range of fact sheets have been released today by the Department of Education which set out key information about the new program. These fact sheets state that TAFE and public RTO’s and Universities will not be required to apply to be providers for the new program. However private RTO’s will. Ms Elisha says “The uncertainty this will cause for consumers will potentially cripple many quality private providers. We, like many others have marketed and promoted VFH and created a demand for the program on behalf of the federal government, and our reward is to have the rug pulled from under us. The timing of this affects marketing for all RTO’s for programs commencing in 2017. The proposed provisional approval arrangements will be hard to communicate to potential course candidates. It is truly irresponsible to paint all RTO’s with the same brush.”

A key issue is the fact that private RTO’s and TAFE should not be compared. TAFE (and universities) are subsidised at many levels through various funding agreements for operating costs, infrastructure and staffing. Private RTO’s like ACBC fund their operations with private investment and borrowings. The majority of RTO’s are small businesses doing their best to provide a quality service, especially in regional areas. They have been made to jump through many changes to compliance and regulation and now the government are creating yet another barrier to business operation. Private RTO’s have provided many thousands of training places nationally where TAFE were unable to deliver on a commercial fee for service basis, and made significant contributions to achieving government skills achievement targets. Ms Elisha says this should be acknowledged.

Ms Elisha points out that the guidelines for the new program have some positive measures including scrapping the use of brokers and agents. Ms Elisha participated in the national consultation on VFH earlier in the year and also made submission to the minister on reforms issues. However, Ms Elisha raises concerns over the proposed VET student Loan capping. “I really think that the proposed three-band capping approach is arbitrary, and I look forward to more information on which courses the department will apply these caps to. In the national consultation, it was discussed to reduce the $99K cap as a measure to control students being encouraged to hop between courses and accrue large debts. I’m disappointed that this hasn’t been proposed as part of the new program”.

Ms Elisha is keen for young people and parent’s deciding on courses for 2017 and beyond to know that the majority of private RTO’s offer programs with greater outcomes than TAFE and Universities.

In response to the proposed reforms she said “There are over 4000 ASQA-approved RTO’s in Australia and less than 3% of these have been implicated in VFH ‘rorting’. I urge people looking to study to do their homework and still consider private providers with a positive track record. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.”

In her final comment, Ms Elisha went on to say “What I do know is my industry will take a significant battering from the transition process to the new program. Jobs will go, hardworking business owners will be disadvantaged and potential students will, at least for the interim have less confidence in private RTO’s and miss out on choices that will affect their careers. Of course, we’ll apply to be a provider under the new program and have no concerns about our history our performance. The devil is in the detail and we will await more information about capping and course availability”.


For media enquiries contact:

Ann Elisha, CEO Australian Careers Business College

0418 440 511 or 02 9824 0000 ann@acbc.nsw.edu.au


ACBC Monthly Newsletter – September 2016

25th September 2016

Message from the CEO

We have reached the end of Term 3 and we are in the final stretch for the year. During the term, our students received a good balance of the elements needed for success in their careers.

In addition to in-class learning, we were pleased and excited to see the growth of our students in Work Placement. Beginning any new position can be challenging. However, ACBC students have risen to the challenge, and we are grateful for the many positive reviews we have received from host employers. Our alumni often tell us that work experience during their studies with us was major stepping stone in their career development, and we are happy to see our current students gaining career-building skills and connections. Thank you to our host employers for offering an important learning opportunity for our students.

During the term our students also had the opportunity to learn about the importance of community involvement. One example of this was Jeans for Genes day when our students, staff, trainers and local businesses worked together to raise funds for vital research to prevent childhood diseases.

In Term 3 we were excited to announce that ACBC was approved to Deliver Vocational Education and Training for HSC in 2017. We will offer six qualifications for HSC students across Business, Travel and Children’s Services from February 2017 for four years.

Finally, we are holding our Open Days on all our campuses this week. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the study and career paths offered at ACBC. Careers Advisors will be on hand to answer questions, while alumni, trainers and industry experts will share their knowledge.

To view the rest of the September 2016 Newsletter, click here.

Study and Career Tips – References; the Final Hurdle In Securing a Job

When you have invested both time and energy to find that perfect role, including searching, resume preparation and the actual interview, an important final step of the process is often overlooked — references.

Eighty-five per cent of hiring managers will check at least one reference as part of their recruitment process. More importantly, research indicates that they are less likely to hire a candidate who cannot provide easily contactable and acceptable work-related references.

Gone are the days of handing a photocopied letter from your neighbours detailing what a nice person you are. Personal and character references are rarely requested in today’s recruitment process. The fact is that your work-related referees can be the deciding factor on your chances of being hired.

Be prepared
Respect the privacy of your contacts and don’t provide details on your resume. Instead it’s best to note ‘References are available upon request’ and then have them readily available when requested.

Think carefully when choosing your references. Hiring managers often prefer to speak to someone from your current workplace, but this is not always possible. Look to other companies you may have worked for and consider not only direct supervisors and managers but also close business acquaintances, educators, colleagues, co-workers or even long-term customers. This should be someone who can make valuable comments and provide a good assessment on your strengths, abilities and skills.

Prepare others
Always get permission from each referee before you include them. Give your references a copy of your latest resume and keep them updated on the types of roles you are applying for. If appropriate, you may also like to give them a brief description of the job opportunity or a copy of the position description for the role you are interested in.

Provide business phone and email details for your reference in an effort to make them easily contactable. Also, have a backup or alternate contact as a reference, just in case your primary one is not available.

Follow up
Finally, always remember to thank your references whether you are successful in securing the role or not. Some job seekers find that they use a particular reference several times throughout their career and others maybe just once. But remember that a good, reliable reference is often the final job hunting hurdle! Good Luck!

Study and Career Tips – 5 Ways to Improve your Study

We all know someone who is outstandingly brilliant at learning, and you’re probably scratching your head wondering what makes them so successful? Many students lose motivation when someone else is thriving, and you might feel as though you’re lagging behind.

This is not uncommon. But if you’re thinking someone else’s learning ability is simply due to good genetics, think again! It’s more likely that they have implemented better study strategies and learning habits than you have.

Follow these five learning tips and you’ll be on the road to a better learning experience.

1. Create a Study Plan. The best students never fail to properly plan. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work you have on your plate, a clear and balanced study plan will boost your motivation when you can tick off a task as complete and will reduce your stress levels by focusing on one task at a time.

2. Take Study Breaks. Many students think they can cram a lot of information into their heads by sitting down and learning for a few hours straight. However, your ability to learn actually decreases, the more time you spend staring at your books or computer. Incorporate regular breaks and use that break time wisely by taking a walk to boost your brain activity.

3. Get Enough Sleep.  Exhaustion is your enemy! When you properly rest, your brain strengthens the knowledge you have learned during the day by assimilating information — so the better you sleep, the better you learn.

4. Ask Questions. Instead of passively sitting in class absorbing what’s going on, have you noticed what the top performing students are doing? They are engaging by asking questions and striking up a conversation with the teacher and getting involved.

5. Apply Learning to Real Life. Top students recognise that acquiring skills is critical for the challenges faced in life. Learning is not about studying for a test and getting good grades, it’s about understanding knowledge and what you can do with that knowledge. During the deeper learning process, students take ownership of their learning by applying core academic skills to real-life situations.

Those students you admire are passionate about what they are learning. They have the drive to develop their learning based on their love of what they are discovering. Follow what interests you and your motivation to learn will thrive.

Study and Career Tips – Developing Professionalism in the Workplace

One of the things to bear in mind while on Work Placement and when you start working after graduation is the need to exercise professionalism in the workplace. An online article about professionalism by K.A. Francis argues that there is ‘no set definition’ of professionalism. However, the author goes on to state that it is ‘the most important trait any employee should possess’. It is also important to remember that all organisations have their own set policies meaning what may be acceptable at one workplace, may not be acceptable at another.

The main traits we all should possess include:

  • Being honest
  • Showing positive work ethics
  • Communicating with both your colleagues and management
  • Being respectful and courteous of those around you.

The following articles offer more ideas on developing your professionalism:

Study and Career Tips – Top Tips for Successful Public Speaking

As you advance in your careers, you will be called upon to speak to groups. The following tips will help you conquer your nervousness and give effective presentations:

  • Know your material. Select a topic that you know about and are interested in. Use stories and conversational language so you can more easily remember what you want to say.
  • Practise. Rehearse your presentation aloud with the props or equipment you will use —such as PowerPoint and a laser pointer.
  • Know your audience. If speaking to an unfamiliar group, try to meet a few of the audience members beforehand so that you will see familiar faces in the room while you speak.
  • Know the space. Arrive early to familiarise yourself with the room and the equipment you will be using, such as a microphone or visual aids.
  • Relax. Take a few deep breaths before speaking. Try to convert your nervous energy into enthusiasm.
  • Picture yourself delivering your presentation beforehand. Visualise yourself speaking with a loud and clear voice while gesturing confidently. Imagine the audience clapping as you conclude.
  • Realise that people want you to succeed. Audience members want your presentation to be interesting, informative and entertaining. They’re not secretly hoping that you flounder and bore them.
  • Never apologise. Nine times out of ten the audience won’t notice what you are apologising for. Don’t say, “Sorry for my nervousness” or “I don’t make presentations often.”
  • Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus on the audience and the message that you are delivering rather than your own nervousness or anxieties.
  • Do it again! Speaking regularly in public will help build your confidence and increase proficiency.

There’s no need to worry when you are called upon to speak in public. Following the tips outlined will help you stay relaxed and connect with your audience.