Preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s workforce
Waves of change are transforming the Australian workforce and the way in which students view their role in it. Skills that students need to gain throughout their high school journey are shifting due to changes in the way they view their vocational pathway. It is imperative in this time of evolutionary change, that schools adapt and find new ways for students to complete their schooling and successfully move to their chosen vocational pathway.
In a study conducted in 2017, ‘Perceptions Are Not Reality’, CEO of Skilling Australia Foundation, Nicholas Wyman, speaks of the important role VET pathways will play in the future education of our students.
‘Because of its applied design, VET remains best suited to build and skill Australia’s future workforce needs and to deliver curricula and programs which are current, comprehensive and adaptable to industry innovations and market trends.’ Nicholas Wyman CEO, Skilling Australia Foundation May 2017.
At St Philip’s Christian College, Newcastle, this is a topic which has been foremost on the minds of school leaders and staff across the College. The result of which is reflected in the introduction of their new HSC pathway alternative, SmartTrack.
‘Our desire is to ensure every student thrives in their schooling journey and is successful in their HSC studies. Through SmartTrack, students can undertake their HSC course in a manner best suited to their learning style as well as be effective in preparing them for the vocational pathway they plan to take after school’, says Pam O’Dea, Principal, St Philip’s Christian College, Newcastle.
HSC SmartTrack is a practical alternative approach to Years 11 and 12, allowing students to complete the Higher School Certificate (Non-ATAR) in an independent adult-learning environment. Students undertake a layered curriculum approach for their core subjects of Maths and English, through enquiry-based learning, leaving space for chosen vocational courses and on-the-job training.
Afternoon and evening delivery of courses allows students an opportunity to gain work experience and employment during Years 11 and 12, and puts them on a SmartTrack to new learning and employment opportunities beyond school. Through industry connections, practical training, and academic growth, students gain the skills and qualifications required to adapt to ever changing work environments, and prepare them for a great future.
SmartTrack has a different ethos and approach to mainstream school, with an increased focus on practical learning, enterprise skills and work readiness. Employers want more than qualifications they want employees with social intelligence, adaptive thinking, transdisciplinary and cross-cultural competence, and SmartTrack aims to provide students opportunity to develop these skills before finishing their HSC.
‘At SPCC, we understand that every student is unique. The introduction of SmartTrack enables those of our students who do not fit the traditional HSC model, to discover their God-given talents and prepare them for life after school. Our desire is to impart skills and attitudes which set our students up for academic, personal and career success, and ready our young people to rise to the challenges of their lives and to make a positive contribution the world they will inherit,’ Mrs O’Dea explained.
St Philip’s Christian College will introduce SmartTrack from the beginning of 2020.