For 17-year-old VET media student Darcy Davis, an enthusiasm for learning and a willingness to approach local media outlets are keys to setting up a career early.
The year 11 student is completing VET media and music studies at the NT's Charles Darwin University Alice Springs campus, which shares resources and grounds with the Centralian Senior Secondary College.
Many high school students complete VET training at the university across a wide range of subjects and Darcy is an example of the students who are applying their hands-on vocational learning to real world jobs.
His media involvement, which includes writing columns and hosting a local radio show, already has caught the eye of local ABC radio which has invited him to join a youth segment.
It's a step many university media graduates struggle to make, let alone a high school student.
Darcy said Alice Springs was an ideal environment for young ambitious people to apply their studies to a variety of media.
'Knocking on doors and making the first move is so important in this industry,' he said. 'And in smaller towns like Alice Springs you have far less competition and more creative licence than the larger cities.'
The flexible course delivery and course content appeal to Darcy.
‘VET media provided credit for my writing at the Alice Springs News as part of my workload and a documentary I produced on nuclear waste in the Territory,’ he said.
‘And VET music has given me practical skills which have helped my musical endeavours out of school.’
He now combines both interests in his media work, an area he developed an interest in while living in China.
‘Sitting on the couch in our eighth-storey (apartment) and listening to the BBC World Service like thousands of others around the world gave me an insight into world politics and issues that continues today,’ he said.
After completing his final studies next year, Darcy aims to gain a traineeship in the media industry.
‘I’m now confident of having the basic skills, understanding and passion for media to gain a traineeship in what is a very competitive area,’ he said.