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What to do After Dropping Out of High School

What to do After Dropping Out of High School

Forget the stigma, dropping out of high school doesn’t mean a bleak future with zero prospects!

For some people, especially those who do best in hands-on learning situations, high school isn’t the best environment for gaining a formal education.

Sometimes, an apprenticeship isn’t just a viable option, but an ideal one.

Why high school is not always the best place to learn

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who thinks that gaining an education is a waste of time. Unfortunately, for some students, gaining that education at high school is challenging because lecture-style teaching simply isn’t the optimal way for them to learn.

A student whose attention is not captured by their school subjects might never be able to connect in a way that works for them. Add social pressures, learning disorders, and a lack of the right support, and you have a formula for a difficult school life.

Interestingly, lots of students who drop out of high school start thriving when they begin an apprenticeship. For many people, hands-on learning gets their brain into gear more effectively and helps them process ideas and facts more easily.

Also, being focused on one industry – instead of trying to concentrate on multiple school subjects they may not be interested in – can make all the difference in how well a person is able to learn.

Can you still start an apprenticeship at 19, 20, 21 years or older?

People often think that apprenticeships are only for young people aged from 16 years old. The good news is that apprenticeships don’t have an upper age limit so there’s no reason why you can’t apply for one, even if you dropped out of high school several years ago.

Not everyone knows what they want to do when they leave school. All those expectations and worries about the future can make some drop out of school and go straight into the workforce. But knowing that an apprenticeship – even a mature age apprenticeship – is a possibility opens up a new world of options.

In fact, for some roles, employers may prefer to take on an apprentice who has a couple more years of life experience. Or it may not matter at all, and age isn’t a factor.

Trade Specialisations You Could Take Up

If you’re thinking of applying for an apprenticeship, one of the first things to ask yourself is what you’re interested in. MIGAS connects people with apprenticeships in the Electrical, Engineering, Automotive and Construction trades. Within each there is a range of different vocations and specialisations, so there are sure to be options you’d like to consider.

And for each apprenticeship type, once you achieve your initial Certificate qualification, you can go on to achieve further ones if you want, to widen your career prospects even further.

Electrical Apprenticeships

A 4-year electrical apprenticeship can lead to various career options. Sure, you could be an electrician but specialties in this trade include an Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Apprenticeship and Instrumentation and Control Apprenticeship.

Working for electricians could see you on the job in people’s homes, on construction sites, in factories, on electrical teams at hotels or hospitals, or at dockyards or airports.

When you start as an apprentice in the electrical sector, there are tons of options, and you can even work towards being self-employed and taking on your own apprentices.

Engineering Apprenticeships

Get your hands dirty in a rewarding, 4-year engineering apprenticeship. Trade specialisations in this sector include a Boilermaker Apprenticeship, Fitter and Turner Apprenticeship, and Mechanical Fitter Apprenticeship.

These are fabrication and mechanical engineering apprenticeships. You get to make or repair something that’s of importance to industry, working with metal and using a variety of tools and methods, according to your specialty.

Welders, lathes, stamping presses, cutting and grinding equipment, CNC machines, moulds, dies and mills could all be part of the toolbox you get to use.

Automotive Mechanical Apprenticeships

Are you a car lover? Truck fan? Get busy every day with hands-on learning, fixing, maintaining and even building cars, light vehicles, heavy vehicles and even mining giants and earthmoving equipment.

Trade specialisations here include a Heavy Vehicle Mechanic Apprenticeship and Light Vehicle Mechanic Apprenticeship, each 4-year stints.

Depending on which specialty you choose, you could be elbow-deep in grease, learning the ins and outs of engines. You might be identifying faults, repairing damage to vehicles, using humble spanners through to high-end diagnostic tools, or dismantling and reassembling engines and/or components.

Construction Apprenticeships

If the first thought you have around a 4-year construction apprenticeship is building houses, think again. This is a trade area that can take you to build tunnels, bridges and hospitals, and you can specialise in a Carpentry Apprenticeship, Civil Construction Traineeship, or Plumbing Apprenticeship.

Working towards a career in construction, however small or monumental, can be an exciting pathway.

You might choose to go into furniture design and manufacturing, or industrial or commercial carpentry. You might find yourself contributing to the construction of footpaths, roads and towers. And painting, plastering and plumbing are all comprehensive trades that open the way to everything from domestic jobs through to vast projects.

Find an Apprenticeship on Our Jobs Board

At MIGAS, we’re constantly advertising apprenticeships in the above sectors.

If you’ve been wondering what to do after dropping out of high school, or if you’ve been dreaming of a good, honest, hands-on job that can take you far, an Australian Apprenticeship is an obvious choice.

View the MIGAS Jobs Board


Published 24/02/2023

In the spirit of reconciliation, MIGAS Apprentices & Trainees acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.