Did you know that experts believe that careers education begins too late in secondary schools, is quite varied in quality and quantity and does not provide meaningful work experience?
Students are falling into the trap of ‘choosing a career’ when they are in Years 11 or 12, when they should be developing a range of skills in earlier years to help them navigate the future of work.
We’ve all heard that kids of today will have up to 17 different career roles during their lifetime and it is this paradox that has Jennifer Caro of Brisbane Catholic Education giving priority to Vocational Learning.
“It’s really critical that we shift the mindset away from a linear pathway or single career outcome for today’s students.
“If they are to be successful in the future, educators must help them to develop a portfolio of skills that can deepen over time and become highly portable across many roles and industries,” explains Jennifer.
Brisbane Catholic Education recently launched a Vocational Learning Position and as Jennifer says, this is looking at traditional career education in a completely new and much broader way.
“Vocational education is just scratching the surface, whereas Vocational Learning overhauls how we help students by teaching adaptable capabilities as early as possible, providing more specialist career development staff in schools, tertiary pathway support, and work-related partnership opportunities.
“The main difference is that this occurs from Year 7, not in the final couple of years of secondary school,” she said.
Important capabilities in all workplaces of the future will include communication, teamwork, problem-solving and self-management skills, as well as confidence.
When asked if Year 7 is too early for students to think about careers, Jen says that it should actually be as early as possible.
“It’s not so much that we want them to choose one or even two pathways in those first years of secondary school; rather we want to work with each student and their family to develop as many career development skills that connect to emerging workplaces of the future.”
There are huge social costs associated with young people who don’t complete secondary school and then disengage from the workforce for most of their lives.
The Mitchell Institute’s 2017 report, Counting the costs of lost opportunity in Australian education, revealed that for the 2014 national cohort of 37,700 early school leavers the lifetime financial cost to the government and taxpayer was $12.6 billion.
Tracking 25-44-year-olds from 2001 to 2014 revealed almost all who left school without Year 12 (or equivalent), and who were still without qualifications by the age of 24, remained so for the rest of their lives.
For men, the figure was a staggering 90 per cent and women were not doing much better, at 82 per cent.
Jennifer said, “What matters most is that within our standardised testing and school rankings, we must not lose track of the absolute individuality of every child in our 160 Catholic schools.
“Vocational Learning will help each Catholic student to be better prepared for the economy of the future, so that they can become not only job seekers but job creators and be able to navigate more complex and challenging careers.”
Brisbane Catholic Education is a learning community of 72,000 students, that shapes lives, nurtures individuals and encourages each child to realise their full potential. Through its partnerships with parents, governments and the community, it is providing social responsibility, self-discipline and Christian values for all its students and nurtures and supports the community in their faith journey. The Archdiocese of Brisbane covers a geographical area that includes much of south-east Queensland spanning metropolitan Brisbane, the Gold and Sunshine coasts, west through Ipswich and the Lockyer and Brisbane valleys and through the South Burnett district and north to Childers.