Written by Amy Dyer
Understanding vocational education and it’s role in student outcomes is my hope for schools and universities m oving forward.
Somewhere along the way the focus shifted. Instead of students graduating with both tertiary and work options, students are now working harder than ever to achieve academic outcomes with little to no understanding of who they are and what they are capable of.
Underpinning student outcomes is quality career counselling for students. Taking the time to understand who they are and how they want to contribute to their community is the start of the conversation. From here, pathways can be created that allow students to work with the school curriculum for authentic career and future study opportunities.
Vocational education is the bridge between the learning of content and its application in industry. In chemistry, students may learn that the mixing of 2 substances will create a reaction, but understanding the real and long term impacts of that reaction on people or the environment is missing. In construction, students may learn the different applications for concrete in an apartment building but lack the insight into the amount of testing that has taken place on raw materials to ensure it remains standing.
The Certificate II in Sampling and Measurement combined with a Certificate III in Laboratory Skills is focused on the practical application of sample testing in all areas of STEM. It relates to agriculture and the sampling of soil, pathology and the testing of blood samples, environmental science and collection of data for conservation and so much more. Our trainers have worked in industry and can provide this important bridge in the delivery of the course.
These skills allow students to follow tertiary outcomes with a solid understanding of working in a laboratory or in the field as well as opportunities for students to articulate directly into the workforce with genuine career advancement.
As previously mentioned, my hope for the future is that students are seen as a whole person with amazing potential, not simply an ATAR or a QCE. Less emphasis on academic outcomes and increased attention to the individuality of students and their strengths can only be of benefit to the mental health of our young people and retention of employees in industry.