Teens on right path

The Advertiser - Careers - - Front Page - CANDICE KELLER Ed­u­ca­tion Re­porter

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.

Pic­ture: CALUM ROBERT­SON

Wilder­ness School stu­dents Emily Har­ris, Shana Ahmed and Sally Wu with prin­ci­pal Jane Dan­vers.

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