School-leavers need better career education to make good choices

| September 19, 2019

The latest report from Global Access Partners (GAP) says universities should be encouraged to offer credit to school-leavers who achieve high results in relevant senior secondary courses, as well as develop new courses for specialist career educators.

Bridges to the Future summarises the work of the GAP Taskforce on Youth Transitions, which was established in 2018 to develop proposals for the NSW Curriculum Review.

“We found that there is great scope to expand the currently very limited practice of granting advanced standing into university courses to school-leavers who have done well in particular subjects,” said David de Carvalho, Taskforce Chair and former Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Education Standards Authority.

Currently many Year 12 students are choosing subjects based on what they think is best for maximising their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), at the very time higher education providers are looking at a wider range of factors when considering university entrance applications.

“This means they are not playing to their strengths or their interests, and not giving themselves the best chance to succeed at university,” Mr de Carvalho said.

“If universities were more willing to reward students who performed well in particular subjects that were relevant to their university courses, HSC subject selection would be less problematic and fraught.”

Taskforce member, Patrick O’Reilly, principal of Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College in Burwood, Sydney, and a member of the expert panel appointed by the Federal Government to the Review of Senior Secondary Pathways, said that another key to supporting better choices by students is “parity of esteem” for non-academic courses, as well as much better career education.

“At a time when the future of the job-market is becoming less predictable due to rapid technological change, when a degree is no longer a guaranteed ticket to a decent salary, students need properly qualified career educators who can provide high quality advice about where the jobs of the future are, and the kinds of study and training options they should be considering,” Mr O’Reilly said.

The “Bridges to the Future” report has been presented to Federal Education Minister, the Hon Dan Tehan, as a submission to the Senior Secondary Pathways Review, and to Professor Geoff Masters, who is conducting the NSW Curriculum Review. It is being launched today at the GAP Economic Summit at the NSW Parliament.

Membership of the GAP Taskforce on Youth Transitions included school principals, government officials, industry representatives, academics and community sector organisations.