A veritable hive of activity, this year’s expo was abuzz with more students than ever, excitedly exploring their post-school options.

From May 5 – 8 Victorian secondary school students, their teachers and parents met with 171 exhibitors from universities, TAFEs, colleges, gap year and schoolies organisers and tutoring services.  

Mike Kingsford, a professor of marine biology at James Cook University has been attending the expo for over a decade.

He was rapt with the number of bright new faces to meet and greet this year.

Well I think the obvious [highlight of] this expo is the number of students,” he says.

“Also we’re based in north Queensland. So for us, Victoria’s really good in terms of the quality of students, because they have ... strong mathematics and a very strong science background, which is what we teach.” 

Over at the Collarts stand, future student manager Al Parkinson was jamming with students keen on a career in music.

“...I always love speaking to the students about what they want to do,” she says.

“Our stall is fairly interactive, so the students really get involved.

“We have a DJ set up, we’ve also got a band set up so they can come and play, and just talking to the students about music and their passions and what they want to do, I love doing that.”

Intrepid traveller Pete Davis from summer camp program Camp America, was also on hand to offer first-hand advice to students.

“I’d say keep your eyes completely open,” he says.

“Don’t put on goggles that focus on one thing that you might like now, you don’t know what’s going to happen in a whole year.

“I went from thinking snowboarding was the coolest thing to wanting to be a primary school teacher, so a complete different atmosphere of workplace,” he says recalling his change of heart during his gap year.

Over in the seminar rooms, students were tuned in to some helpful hints for surviving Year 12 and life beyond.

Etiquette experts from Suzan Johnston Training Organisation presented a seminar entitled Job Interviews: Making a Positive First Impression. 

Students learnt that their resumés are “prime real estate” which must be carefully presented to employers, and the importance of maintaining a professional online presence, personal email address and phone message.

The future job seekers also discussed posture, body language, grooming and what makes a good handshake.

Students who attended Jess Holsman’s Top 10 Study Tips for VCE Students seminar had plenty to learn from the study guru and YouTuber.

“Aim for excellence, not perfection,” Holsman told her audience, explaining that the constant pursuit of perfection can rob you of some wonderful successes.

Holsman shared tips for creating a healthy work/study balance, building support groups, setting goals, and told students to “remember the big picture – this is your time to begin creating yourself and your future”.