High school students from Mudgee and Gulgong were given tips to manage some of the pressures facing young people today with the ‘Survivor Life Skills’ programs presented by Howard Smith.
Topics included job interview skills, goal setting, first job, and stress in the Higher School Certificate (HSC).
The latter being an increasingly prominent topic in Australia each year and it’s even the subject of a current ABC television series My Year 12 Life which captures pressures on HSC students.
Mr Smith said it’s important for students to know what stress they can perform under and what they need to manage.
“We spend the first half of the program helping them understand what is the difference between stress, we don’t want them leaving thinking it’s all bad,” he said.
“So how to harness ‘good stress’ - that would make you study or win the football match, to do the job well.
“And make sure they have that understanding.
“We talk about the symptoms of stress, but the majority of the subject is if you feel stress coming upon you there’s a whole range of exercises that you can find fit your life.”
MHS careers advisor, Bill Kempton, added that the presentation is targeted at students who are in Year 11 in order to preempt that final year of school and help them with issues such as time management, prioritised tasks and how to manage the stress.
The students from Year 9 learned about the pitfalls and possibilities that come with a first job.
“There are a number of things we cover; obviously we talk about finding a part-time job, but the guts of it is we want them to understand things like trial periods and knowing they have to be paid for it, and being paid cash in hand,” Mr Smith said.
“It’s a lot of nitty gritty stuff to protect them.
“And we start off with questions they should ask themselves before the send a resume out.
“Woolworths have told us through research that the average 16-year-old will stay employed for four months after they’ve trained them, because they see their friends still playing football or going out and that’s what they’ve given up to stand behind a cash register.”
Mr Smith also had presentations for Year 7, 9 and 11 students at Gulgong High on Tuesday, with the youngest learning about financial literacy.
“We cover everything from budgeting, goods and services, how money’s earned, and introduction to banking,” he said.
“You’d be really surprised at what they know, we do a mock up payslip with the budgeting exercise and it’s amazing how many Year 7 students know what superannuation is.”
The presentation was brought to area through sponsorship from Mid-Western Regional Council and Club Mudgee.