The definition of Education is not limited to classroom learning. There are number of academics that could debate this statement, of course, however I do not believe our statement is too far off the mark. There are many definitions of education out there, but the following, as published on www.dictionary.com confirms the meaning of education as…
“the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life…” OR “….an enlightening experience…”

Of course we can NEVER discount the high value and regard of a primary, secondary or tertiary education, in this society that we live in, and in general, for those “pieces of papers” or certificates/diplomas/degrees/masters/PHDs, can dictate how much we can potentially earn in wages or salaries, compared to those that do not possess some type of academic institution affirmation of skills/knowledge level. I too come from a family of academics, and have firsthand experience of what that degree can do to your purse, with goals, hard work and perseverance. BUT people learn at different paces, in different ways, and in different times. Some continue school before working. Others do both at the same time. Others defer tertiary studies to work and think about what they want to be, then study at a much later time. We are saying, you learn every single minute of every single day by the things happening or words said around us. Others learn better when they are given a demonstration of the task, rather than reading about it in a manual or text book. We do not learn only from teachers in a classroom setup.

In my working experience in the Human Resources field, I have also come across few individuals with not only one, but two or more university degrees under their belts. Of those, I found only some that lacked common sense and knowledge of application. That is, they could not demonstrate that they could apply their learned knowledge to everyday situations. They instead liked to quote the text books as a solution to a problem, rather than taking the theory and using same as a guide to finding a workable or feasible solution. Australian education systems are very well focused on teaching students the skills to analyse and criticize situations in order to realise the BEST options to apply. How you can get a distinction in your grades is dependent on how well you can demonstrate in your assignments and exams, your understanding of the “theories” (or methodologies/strategies) to solve problems at hand. These skills become really handy also in enhancing common sense in one’s life.

In my working career, I have also been blessed with being associated with a few very successful high achievers that never went to university. I have learned so much from them. Usually, these non tertiary graduates, are self motivators, or self driven individuals. Their financial circumstances in their families prevented some from getting to university. But it did not stop them from learning. How did they get ahead? They worked extremely hard in the
jobs they were entrusted with, and worked their way up. Their employers recognized their valuable contributions in their workplaces and often recommended such individuals to workshops or TAFE courses. Others worked on their jobs and saved money to put themselves through courses. While others worked and paid very close attention to workers that were “seniors” or considered “experts” in their fields. They asked a lot of questions,and they “DREAMED”. They visualised themselves to be better and that they will one day be a “manager”, or “business owner”, or “nurse”, or “mechanic”, or “graphics designer”, a “doctor”, a “caregiver”, “a devout mother”, a “servant of God”, or a well-regarded “Chef” to name only a few. None of these individuals dwelled on their financially disadvantaged situation.

If you have a passion/hobby, make something of that passion/hobby. DO NOT LET others pull you down, or doubt yourself. You have a natural talent? Find out how you can earn money using that talent. While I was at high school, like most kids do, I took on an AVON job and sold a lot of Avon products to just friends at school, our neighbours in our street, teachers, you name it. I calculated what I wanted to earn in commission (my target), then pushed my sales to ensure I achieve my target. While at University, my sister and I could not get AUStudy allowances of more than AUD30.00 a fortnight, just enough to cover our weekly bus passes to classes in the 90’s. Our allowances from the parents did not account for movies or pizza now and then with Uni friends, or the occasional visit to the clubs as most kids would do. So instead of being depressed about it, I ensured my school work was done of course, and then I used to play billiard/pool for money, and type up Master Degree students’ thesis. Back then I charged $0.01c per word, but could basically earn $100-$300.00 per Thesis/assignment. I was very driven as I certainly did not want to miss out on the fun, but at the same time, did not want to burden my parents by asking them for more money. My father used to tell us everyday, “Where there is a Will, there is a Way!” – that means, nothing is impossible when you put your mind, heart, and soul into anything you strive for.

IT IS NEVER TOO LATE. If you didn’t go to University, then IT DOES NOT MATTER ONE BIT. Read books about whatever career you want to pursue. If you want to do a trade and be a plumber, GO AHEAD. BUT aim to be at least one of the BEST plumbers in your industry. Plumbers or any trade, can bring in a very steady income for you and your family. Excellent in sports? Train hard or enrol in Little Athletics if you can. Want to be in Construction? Try and get a Green Card and White Card. See if these courses are offered for free by Centrelink. There is no age limit to studying, and you can research anything on the internet these days. Self educate, and open your ears when people with more knowledge are talking sensibly and responsibly – you can learn a lot from the wise and experienced. Watch the news or documentaries, to keep up-to-date with current affairs. Don’t know how to Cook? Search on YouTube on how to make that scrumptious meal. I can’t even get away anymore with saying ‘I don’t know how to cook!” because all these resources are readily available on line to tutor anyone who doesn’t know how to do almost anything – good and bad.

You just have to ignore negative thoughts, and negative advice, and find out what the cheapest way possible to do an effective short course if there are no free courses offered by Centrelink. If you are able to, then subscribe to whatever software that you want to use, and self teach yourself on how to use the software instead of spending money for someone else to teach you. Download free trial software and give it a go on how to use them. Software downloads as you know, normally come in 30 day free trial periods. Eventually, you will be near as good as one that’s gone to school for using that particular software. If you have a smartphone, google whatever subject comes to mind that really interests you, to learn more.

If you are not sure what career you want to be pursue, you might want to have a think about looking into careers that are in high demand in Australia. They are in high demand because there is a shortage of people with this skill, yet more job offers are available for same. According to the Australian Government’s SKILL SHORTAGE LIST published February this year (https://docs.employment.gov.au/documents/skill-shortage-list-australia) the
following skills are in high demand nationally. If you click on this link given, you will be able to see a further breakdown in terms of industry, State, and so on. We hope this will help you make up your mind if you are not able to go forward in life or career.

I recently heard about a Pacific Islander that was born in the Islands, migrated to Australia, and lived with his parents in the Mt Druitt NSW area. In the 70’s-80’s, according to this gentleman, Pacific Islanders living in Mt Druitt area were generally not known to excel in school academically, let alone go to university. He did not come from a family with a lot of finances to spare. The parents were just honest, hardworking people, who pushed their children to DO BETTER. They also knew their Thomas* (not his true name), was not a “bright” one at school. But still, they said to him, “You CAN do better!”. Thomas spoke fondly to a group recently of his parents, how they always were proud with whatever he did, but after cheering him on and acknowledging his effort, his father would always say after, “Thomas I know you can do better”. Thomas thought, “but no one who came from Mt Druitt, do any
better than a factory job or cleaning work!”. Thomas thought that whatever happens, it would be ok to get a factory job, as that was what people from his surrounds were generally employed as. Yet Thomas’s father refused to believe this, and believed Thomas could do better. This belief became instilled mentally in Thomas and sure enough, Thomas started to believe it, so he worked, and he applied, and got better work, and exerted a lot of effort, with just a secondary education under his sleeve. Well folks, this gentleman from Mt Druitt ended up an expatriate in London through a sports scholarship. Who would’ve thought this boy from the Islands would end up earning big in Europe?

If your parents are not telling you this, then let us tell you – YOU CAN DO BETTER. Think beyond the square, and dream. Visualize yourself to be the successful person in whatever field you want to be in. Do not worry if you
did not make it into university. Do not worry if your address is not from an area outside of Mt Druitt or Claymore
or Blacktown or Minto or any other suburb that is looked upon by the general population as disadvantaged. UPF operates out of Minto and they are blessed. Just pray, and work hard, and dream. BELIEVE that YOU CAN DO BETTER. The rest of your success will follow. You do not have to become a doctor or lawyer to be successful. If you live comfortably, and always have food on the table, a healthy family, and strive to help the young ones in your family DO BETTER, then YOU are successful.

Do not forget to love those around you, when you achieve. Do not become arrogant when you achieve. Do not look down upon others, when you achieve. Do not live beyond your means, when you achieve. AND you do not need to impress anyone, or need anyone’s approval in order to achieve. Achieve for YOU and for the betterment of your family. If you dream of owning a business, then DO NOT STOP that dream, and one day (especially in God’s good timing), YOU WILL DO BETTER. YOU WILL ACHIEVE.