Meaningful career pathway opportunities can have a profound and positive impact on health and wellbeing. Simply having a direction can provide a sense of hope, clarity and calm for young people.
The school curriculum is designed to develop critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration and teamwork, personal skills and socials skills as well as ICT competency, however the ATAR does not fully reflect this. The ATAR is a number that decides if you meet the cut off for a particular course at university. It is not a true and full representation of the skills learned over 13 years of education.
Therefore, combining our academic growth with practical, industry relevant skills achieved through certificate qualifications is important. Our aim is to provide industry with a well-rounded, industry ready employees who encompass more than just academic strength.
Did you know:
- Only 50% of university applicants use the ATAR for admission. The other 50% use certificate qualifications or alternate pathways.
- Certificate qualifications can provide direct entry to some university courses and depending on the level of qualification, can provide an ATAR equivalent of 68 – 87.
- School based traineeships and school based apprenticeships are a great way to gain paid employment and industry relevant skills while still at school.
See below for an example of the positive impact that certificate study can have on our graduates:
The student was achieving at a high level throughout senior schooling and maintained very high expectations of academic success. As year 11 and 12 progressed, the pressure of maintaining high results was having an adverse effect on their mental health and their results were reflecting this. The student had a keen interest in Allied Health and was strong in both Chemistry and Biology and looking toward tertiary study in this area after year 12.
Action plan and recommendations
After speaking with students, the following information was obtained:
- They felt like they were failing and unable to achieve the results required for university entry.
- Their parents were supportive of change but not sure how to help.
- Their learning style suited a practical engagement of learning however, the subjects being studied were academically focused.
It was agreed that changes needed to be made and the following option was discussed:
- The student would drop their humanities subject (which did not suit their interest or learning style) and focus on their strengths which were Maths and Science.
- The student would enrol in a Certificate II Sampling and Measurement combined with a Certificate III in Laboratory Skills and have additional time in their timetable to support this.
- The course would provide an alternate style of learning which focused on practical, work ready skills to support academic growth in their science subjects.
- The successful completion of the Certificate III would provide an ATAR equivalent of 68 and provide automatic entry to some courses of interest in the health sector. This provided a significant relief for the student. A higher ATAR was still possible through their subjects for more competitive courses.
- The student was keen to work in the industry using the Certificate III in Laboratory Skills qualification during university to help with industry exposure, experience and work readiness in the future.
Ultimately, the student achieved a strong ATAR which was used to enter their preferred Allied Health course at university. They attribute the certificate study with skills that they use regularly in industry, a more balanced approach to senior study and an overall improvement in well-being. The student also secured paid work in the industry while at university and went on to work full time with the company.