Jobs focus schools’ new stock-in-trade
CAREERS counsellors will shift their attention from school leavers to students as young as 11 to convince them of the value of a trade before they are funnelled into university.
The state government will also make it easier for students to take school-based traineeships by hiring mentors to help students with timetabling and navigating their new workplace, as part of a $10 million skills package.
Careers counsellors leave it too late to speak to students about their tertiary and career options because the vast majority have already settled on university by Year 11 and Year 12, according to Liverpool Girls High School relieving deputy principal Linda Jurcevic. “There’s an idea the only way is university but that needs to stop,” Ms Jurcevic said. “The biggest problem we have is parents who tell their kids they have to go to university and they don’t understand the value of learning a trade.
“It’s all a business for the universities, they just want the numbers.
“If you expose the kids to trades at a younger age, they have options to pick a career that matches their strengths rather than being funnelled into university.”
Students at Liverpool Girls High School who take vocational classes in Year 8 and 9 are encouraged to take a school-based apprenticeship in Year 10, 11 and 12 to apply what they’ve learned in the real world.
For example, students who study retail in Year 9 are taught skills such as dealing with difficult customers, merchandising and security, go on to work at McDonalds in Year 10 with a guarantee of 10 hours of work a week.
Students leave school with certificates and a foot on the career ladder.
“A Year 12 student of ours, Melissa Bonello, is currently sitting her HSC but she did a business services class and has just been promoted within the company that’s building the Metro,” Ms Jurcevic said. “She’s sitting the HSC but she’s working too, she’s out there in the workforce already and doesn’t need to worry what will happen next year because her career path is already laid out.”
From next year a Careers
Immersion Team will target 24 schools throughout southwest Sydney and the north coast, in suburbs with high youth unemployment, where they will broker training and job opportunities for students and develop industry partnerships with local schools.
“The program is aimed at making sure students pick the subjects at school that will put them on the right career pathway,” Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said. “At the heart of these pilot initiatives is the government’s desire to improve career advice, increase school-based apprenticeships and traineeships and help our most disadvantaged and disengaged students further their education.”
Year 9 students Rosie Tupou, Aieshah Masri, Lilymaria Thomas and Princella Asiedua from Liverpool Girls High School.