The Be Real Game - Developed in Digital Format for Online and Face-to-Face Delivery


Ana Pateman is the CEO at Western Student Connections Dubbo. They aim to provide young people with access to relevant high quality career support to develop their capacity for education, training and employment futures. They do this through Structured Workplace Learning, School Based Traineeships, careers and transitions and other relevant activities.


I am no stranger to the Real Game Series which was first introduced to Australia in 2002. Since the five games were released here, I have trained many Careers Advisers, teachers and community members to facilitate the games and I've been delivering the games in schools in western NSW. I guarantee many careers advisers’ bookshelves would still have at least one copy of those very large game folders.

The Play Real Game (Stage 2), The Make It Real Game (Stage 3), The Real Game (Stage 4), The Be Real Game (Stage 5) and The Get Real Game (Stage 6), each take young people on a journey through the world of work. Each involves participants in role play as an adult, completing all the usual tasks a working adult needs to do, but of course at each student’s learning level.

In 2021, with support from Training Services NSW and permission from the Canadian owners of the series, my team developed an online version of The Be Real Game. This version has every activity in digital form, so all participants need is internet access on their device. There’s also a free Be Real Game App, to replace the older version Brainstorm Spin Game, which is available for Apple and Android.

The Be Real Game online version is free for use by all teachers and students in NSW schools. Facilitators have access to the Facilitator Guide and a link to the Student Portal. Students go directly to the Student Portal when they sign in and can work through each activity with the help of a Facilitator.

It is designed for groups of young people to role play being a working adult. The group can be as small as two or three participants or as large as you want. Once students have played the game, they can go back and play again and again, in a group or on their own, trying out as many career pathways as they want.

During game sessions participants complete both individual and group activities.

The game starts with each participant given a Role History, which describes background information about their role and further education and/or training. They use the educational achievements, work experience and skills on their role history to prepare a resume, search through job advertisements and find their first job.

And of course, with their new job they can explore the relationship between income, lifestyle, choices and necessities, as determined by their monthly income. They discover the affect that income has on lifestyle and learn how to balance their budget.

As a citizen with a social conscience, they deal with typical real-life situations that challenge their decision-making skills and cause them to further explore their role characters and the realities of adult life.

Later activities involve participants experiencing the consequences of job loss and job change while learning about financial and transition strategies that will help them in real life. They update their resume and seek and find new work.

The final section of the game has students out of role play and using the skills they have developed while playing the game to set goals and prepare for their own career journey.

With 70 Role Histories, 140 Job Advertisements and 140 Job Profiles readily available in digital format, this Be Real Game version has more than enough variety to suit any industry pathway. And the good news is, new pathways are being added regularly.

The development phase included facilitator training for groups of careers advisers and work studies teachers, followed by trials in several schools. Feedback allowed us to fix some minor issues and gave us ideas for additional careers pathways.

The Be Real Game has been mapped to the Stage 5 Work Education and Stage 6 Work Studies courses. Activities cover many Key Learning Areas and the Australian Core Skills Framework. The facilitator can select which sessions to complete and how best to engage the participants. Sessions can be delivered in class time over a few weeks, or as a one-day activity. Anything works!

I will be presenting a workshop at the 2022 Careers Advisers Association of NSW and ACT Conference on Friday, 28 October.