Jobs fo­cus schools’ new stock-in-trade

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

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.”

Pic­ture: Sam Ruttyn

Year 9 stu­dents Rosie Tupou, Aieshah Masri, Li­ly­maria Thomas and Prin­cella Asiedua from Liver­pool Girls High School.

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