Nik Babovic has enjoyed four different career pathways.
Nik Babovic has enjoyed four different career pathways.

Embrace every chance to keep upskilling for continued work

THERE'S no such thing as a job for life. We're changing jobs, if not careers, more often than ever.

Of the 11.5 million Australians working this time last year, nearly one in 10 had changed jobs in the previous 12 months, while US research has found it's now standard for us to juggle seven different careers in our working life.

The fact that we're able to change careers, not just jobs, means we've become more open to changing direction, re-skilling or returning to study to pursue our newly chosen career paths.

We're jumping from trades to professional roles to academia to self-employment - four career pathways Nik Babovic has taken.

Mr Babovic is the deputy vice-chancellor for industry and VET at CQUniversity, a long way from the start of his working life as a builder's labourer in Canberra.

Shivering through early mornings on site in Canberra, Mr Babovic never picture himself working in an office in central Queensland, let alone as a member of university executive.

For that matter, he hadn't intended being a carpenter, either. As a teenager, he relocated from the Gold Coast to Canberra in the early 1980s to play football, and said his trade took a backseat to his sport.

"At the time, I would have been happy just playing footy, but the coach told me I had to get a job. I started as a labourer, then I realised it made sense to do an apprenticeship," Mr Babovic said.

From there, his career has moved from running his own business (he still has his builder's licence), to training, a degree and the TAFE sector, an MBA, and finally to CQUniversity in 2011.

The key to managing each career change, according to Mr Babovic, is taking every chance to upskill.

A Diploma of Management followed and an MBA in managing people, as Mr Babovic worked across public and private training institutions, and industry bodies.

From July 1, after CQUniversity's merger with CQ TAFE, making similar career changes will be easier.

Mr Babovic said the change would boost educational support for new students, and deliver seamless transitioning between work, diploma and degree qualifications.