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Streets ahead in the joy of interacting and tackling change


How long have you been doing this job and what first sparked your interest in this area?

I became a teacher 25 years ago. I always loved to learn and still love learning new things. Like so many others who find themselves in education, I was inspired by a number of amazing teachers when I was in high school. I never wanted to be in a job that would have me sitting or standing at a counter all day. Having said that I find myself sitting at my desk an awful lot these days but at least my office has a revolving door with plenty of different people coming and going.

What do you like most about the job?

One of the aspects of the job that I enjoy is the social nature of the job that has a primary focus on helping others. I like the unpredictability and constant change; you can never claim to be bored as a principal. Education is such a great place to be, it is wonderful interacting on a regular basis with so many bright young people and the staff both teaching and non-teaching are of the highest calibre.

What was the most unexpected thing you have had to do in your job?

There are many unexpected aspects to this job, like accompanying a student in an ambulance to hospital, choosing the colour of paint and patterns of carpet and becoming familiar with guttering styles and the plumbing of the school. In terms of recent events, I never imagined I would have to lead a whole school community in a transition to remote/online learning! That was certainly a learning experience, and something I could never have foreseen when I started teaching 25 years ago.

What is the worst thing you have had to do?

Attend the funerals of young people – educators end up becoming so much more than teachers; we develop strong relationships with not only the students themselves but also with their extended families.

Has your approach to being the principal changed after taking charge of a selective school – and one of the oldest and most renowned schools in Australia? If so, how?

Not really, I have always been acutely aware of how important a school’s culture and traditions are to the entire school community, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey in education in many different school settings including special education in London. Fort Street High School does have a rich history and pride in many old traditions. For example, I was surprised to find that students still sing in Latin every school assembly. That was something unfamiliar to me, but I felt it was important to make the effort to learn the school songs myself to show that I value that aspect of the school’s history and tradition.

The school’s long tradition of academic excellence is also important to me and to the students. Academically selective schools like Fort Street play an important role in the wider public education system.

Having such a concentration of gifted students allows them to become more than the sum of their parts, and the things they are able to achieve not just academically, but also artistically, culturally and in a leadership sense, are incredible. Part of the tradition of Fort Street is also recognising the responsibility that the privilege of such an education is for our students, developing in them a strong social conscience and encouraging them to make a positive contribution to society.

What advice do you have for people wanting to get into this career? What should they study and what experience do they need to get into this field?

Make sure you realise that the old days of teaching are over – it is not a job for you if you are looking to exert influence and power over others. Teachers and school leaders need to be tolerant, understanding and patient.

Teaching hours also do not reflect the school day. There are many hours spent late into the night and on weekends and holidays preparing lessons, creating resources, marking and providing feedback for students’ work and writing reports. A job in education requires a huge commitment. For those who are interested in school leadership in particular, it is important to realise that while schools are large and complex organisations that increasingly require skills in financial management, human resources management etc. at their heart they remain about the education of young people – quality teaching and learning – and it is important for someone in a position like mine to never lose sight of that.

What personal skills do they need?

Most importantly, you will need to have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate well. A joy of interacting and spending lots of time with young people is also vital.

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Dodge career complacency and get your best foot forward


All levels of government have had to catch up and become creative in their responses. Some of these responses seem to have been on the whole successful, such as JobKeeper (although not without its faults such as largely excluding workers such as artists). Other responses seem to have been lacking in areas such as quarantine hotel security arrangements.

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For too many workers, COVID-19 has been a cruel reminder of the uncertain nature of even the most supposedly secure jobs. Regular readers will know I have been banging on about chaos and uncertainty in careers for two decades, and I even have a theory to my name alongside my colleague Robert Pryor that emphasises the uncertain, ever-changing nature of work and careers.

In times of employment stability, it is easy for any of us to fall into the complacency trap and fail to run our own pandemic-planning exercises. Even in the good times, we should be keeping planning skills up to scratch by looking for opportunities, developing contingency plans and being strategic about our futures. We cannot make long-range predictions (so much for long-term career plans).

What we can do is develop skills of opportunity awareness such as strategy, optimism, risk-taking, curiosity, flexibility, persistence and luck readiness. Right now would be a good time for us to mark our own performance against these skills.

Ask yourself how can you be more flexible, strategic and curious and how can you take more calculated risks? I think we should be asking ourselves these questions routinely in good times as well as bad.

This doesn’t mean everything rests with the individual. Governments have a responsibility to provide opportunities for jobs growth, for personal growth through education and work, and support for those that need it. One thing they can do is embrace skills-based careers education from the beginning of formal education and not leave it to the last minute with an emphasis on a single transition from school to work.

None of us know what a day will bring, which makes it all the more important that we equip everyone with the skills to be able to deal with success and adversity with felicity and grace.

Jim Bright FAPS is Professor of Career Education and Development at ACU and owns Bright and Associates, a Career Management Consultancy. Email to opinion@jimbright.com. Follow him on Twitter @DrJimBright



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Tablet interactive: Coronavirus outbreak



Brett Sutton says the concerning Casey cluster, linked to 34 cases, was now under control.



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Renters turning to buyers as cost of debt falls



The lower for longer interest rate environment has led to a resurgence of investors to the market as they look to buy higher-yielding assets in preference to staying as renters.



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Aliro to regenerate Toyota site to new employment hub


The Aliro project is one of many developments in the Sutherland Shire which also includes the Woolooware Bay Town Centre by developers Aoyuan International and Capital Bluestone. That includes new commercial suites, to cater for more people who are opting to work closer to home.

Aliro’s chief executive Daniel Wise, said Aliro had been fielding strong interest from a range of leading global and national brands keen to secure a position on the 12.4 hectare site.

These have come from a range of uses including logistics, education, corporate office, recreational, food and beverage and multiple film production studios.

“The estate will create a strong employment hub within the Shire,” Mr Wise said.

“Importantly, the creation of this significant employment hub will provide an opportunity for businesses to attract and retain a mix of different local skills.”

The estate will create a strong employment hub within the Shire

Aliro CEO Daniel Wise

Mr Wise said that given the scale and strategic location of the site, it represented a generational and industry-creating opportunity to secure significant international investment for Sydney and NSW.

“Together with the appropriate government support and investment, we anticipate creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs upon completion. This comes at a critical time for NSW and the community, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Wise said.

“We are currently scoping possibilities for the future of the site, however, local jobs are a key focus. The great thing about this iconic site is that the possibilities are endless.”

Mr Wise said the scale of the site, including the potential for adaptive reuse of the existing buildings, provided the opportunity to deliver more jobs and amenity for the Shire community.

Mr Wise said Aliro would work closely with the the council, government, local business and the community to deliver an “outstanding” result for the site and the Shire.

“To ensure the site achieves its maximum potential we will be looking for government to support critical and important transport infrastructure investment to and around the site to ensure safe and effective access and traffic flow for occupants, business and the surrounding community,” he said.

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Alan Joyce’s pay falls to $1.7 million as pandemic clips Qantas’ wings


Qantas said the $1.2 million value of the bonus shares awarded to other key executives was less then what they sacrificed during the year after accepting a three-month pay freeze when the pandemic first hit. Total executive pay fell from $22.4 million in 2019 to $6.9 million, the annual report shows.

The long-term bonuses were awarded because Qantas’ share price – while down 44 per cent since January and down 32 per cent over a three-year period – was still performing better than a group of 18 comparable listed airlines.

Jetstar boss Gareth Evans, Qantas Domestic boss Andrew David and recently departed Qantas International boss Tino La Spina each received around $300,000 worth of shares. Loyalty boss Olivia Wirth received $141,000 and chief finance officer Vanessa Hudson got $66,000.

Companies paying c-suite bonuses while collecting JobKeeper payments has become a hot-button issue, attracting criticism from both the federal Labor opposition and the Business Council of Australia.

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Qantas collected $267 million in payments through the JobKeeper scheme last financial year, with most of that going to employees who were stood down from work, and the company receiving a $15 million net benefit from the wage subsidy and other government support packages.

Qantas chairman Richard Goyder said his board and management had shown “important leadership” by giving up some of their salaries.

“This is obviously not the same hardship as [experienced by] those stood down or facing redundancy, but it comes at a time when demands on management are greater than ever,” he said.

Qantas said its executives would have been entitled to part of their annual bonuses based on non-financial measures, but gave those up along with some of their salaries.

The company’s executive team and board received no salary between April and June. That freeze extended into July for Mr Joyce and chairman Richard Goyder, who are now being paid 65 per cent of their base rate. Other board and executive team members have been on 85 per cent of their normal pay since July.

Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine said it was “sickening” that Qantas awarded bonuses at a time when the airline’s workers were struggling on JobKeeper and facing layoffs.

“They literally have no idea what life is like for their workers, who are terrified about their futures as the axe swings over their heads,” Mr Kaine said.

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Tablet interactive: Special



If it didn’t have to share the Olympic limelight with the feats of Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe, the incredible victory by Australia’s women’s water polo team in Sydney in 2000 would be seared into our memories.



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Tablet interactive: Coronavirus outbreak



National cabinet will meet today to discuss hotel quarantine arrangements for new international arrival caps as well as a definition of a hotspot. Follow our live coverage.



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Saudi energy minister sends a warning to oil market gamblers


The Saudi Energy Minister warned traders on Thursday (UK time) against betting heavily in the oil market saying he will try to make the market “jumpy” and promised those who gamble on the oil price would be hurt “like hell”.

The comments by Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, OPEC’s most influential minister, came after a virtual meeting of a key panel of OPEC and allies, led by Russia, known as OPEC+.

Anyone who thinks they will get a word from me on what we will do next, is absolutely living in a La La Land': Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.

Anyone who thinks they will get a word from me on what we will do next, is absolutely living in a La La Land’: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.Credit:AP

Prince Abdulaziz told the gathering OPEC+ could hold an extraordinary meeting in October if the oil market soured because of weak demand and rising coronavirus cases, according to an OPEC+ source.

“Anyone who thinks they will get a word from me on what we will do next, is absolutely living in a La La Land… I’m going to make sure whoever gambles on this market will be ouching like hell,” Prince Abdulaziz told a news conference when asked about OPEC+ next steps.



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Education startup Forage scores $13 million in funding as learning goes online.


Mr Brunskill started Forage in 2017 with co-founder Pasha Rayan after he found his degree at Australian National University had left him ill-prepared for life as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer at King & Wood Mallesons.

The pair secured the law firm as Forage’s first client and since then the startup has enrolled more than 1 million students in its free online programs, with companies including KPMG, JP Morgan and Microsoft paying a subscription fee to have their courses on the platform.

The coronavirus pandemic has driven a steep increase in enrolments with 830,000 new students signing up since April, up from 20,000 to 30,000 each month before COVID-19.

Mr Brunskill is confident this growth will continue when the pandemic is over and said COVID-19 had accelerated the shift to remote learning. “We’ve certainly seen an explosion in usage which has been driven by those macro forces through this period,” he said. “Whether coronavirus is here to stay or not the benefits of what we’re delivering to both sides of that marketplace will continue to mean that we see growth.”

The funding round was led by US firm Lightspeed Venture Partners and Forage will use the investment to expand its team which is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Miami, New York and London. Forage has previously raised $US11.6 million in venture funding and its investors include Steve Baxter’s Transition Level Investments, FundersClub, Y-Combinator and Arizona State University.

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Mr Brunskill said he moved to the United States because San Francisco offered proximity to venture capital, university partnerships and global brands but said “Australia is still very much in our DNA”.

He said the future of education looked “fundamentally different” to what it does now. “There will be increasing pressure on education providers to show real outcomes in terms of pathways to employment.”

Mr Brunskill said he did not expect to see the “extinction” of universities but rather more emphasis on work-integrated learning and job readiness in curricula. “That’s clearly where the world is already heading and there’s no silver bullet solution but we think we’re part of the solution.”

Mercedes Bent, partner at Lightspeed, said the pandemic had put hundreds of millions of people out of jobs globally and Forage was an essential platform for employers and candidates looking for talent and work. She said Lightspeed was drawn to the focus on careers and employer-led courses.



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