Teens on right path
CAREER counselling is being offered to younger high-school students to give them an earlier head start planning their careers.
Students in Years 11 and 12 have traditionally received career guidance to help them in life after school, but students as young as 13 now are being tested, given information and encouraged to plan their future employment options.
Teachers say it broadens, rather than narrows, their horizons.
STUDENTS are being coached to be proficient employees from the early years of high school, with a greater focus on technology skills and career pathway planning from Year 9.
Schools are finding it more challenging, however, to nurture these skills with the fast-paced evolution of technology and the wide-ranging career opportunities now available to schoolleavers.
Wilderness School principal Jane Danvers says preparing students for life after school is becoming a more complex process.
‘‘One thing we know about young people moving into the workforce is the only constant is rapid change,’’ Ms Danvers says.
‘‘The skills they will need in terms of technology involve many technologies we don’t even know about yet.’’
Planning for further education or entry into the workforce formally kicks off in Year 10 in most schools, with one-one-one career counselling and the new compul- sory subject, the Personal Learning Plan. The semester-long PLP was introduced under the new South Australian Certificate of Education in 2009 and requires students to map out their interests, strengths and weaknesses, in turn helping them to choose appropriate subjects for their preferred career pathway.
SACE board chief executive Dr Paul Kilvert says the new SACE aims to lift the skills of students with reference to the workforce.
‘‘The Personal Learning Plan is a more structured way to help young people make betterinformed decisions about what they need to study and do, so they are better equipped for our changing world,’’ Dr Kilvert says.
South Australian schools are also increasing the vocational education opportunities for students in junior high school years, in preparation for the new SACE, under which students can gain credits for vocational study and employment. Ms Danvers says it is crucial to ‘‘build a culture of looking to the future’’ from the early years of secondary school.
Students at Wilderness are supported throughout their time in developing an e-portfolio of their work and achievements, which can then be used for university or job interviews and helps to guide the individual’s Personal Learning Plan.
‘‘(The PLP) gives our girls a chance to develop those areas of interest in a more formal way,’’ Ms Danvers says.
‘‘Some students are sure in Year 8 what career they want to pursue. We encourage them to keep an open mind while helping them follow that passion.’’
Many schools provide career workshops with industry representatives and university staff, to talk to students about navigating their way to their desired career.
Wilderness hosts one every two years, in conjunction with St Dominic’s Priory College and Blackfriars Priory School.
Wilderness School students Emily Harris, Shana Ahmed and Sally Wu with principal Jane Danvers.