Why High Achievers Choose Vocational Programs

Traditionally, schools have provided a binary choice for tertiary pathways for students. Students were encouraged to choose a higher education pathway in which they selected defined academic subjects. These provided the maximal ATAR score opportunities, or they chose a vocational pathway in which they had a mix of practically orientated vocational subjects and with academic outcomes lower in priority.

So following this trend, it would be assumed that students enrolled at extension schools for gifted and talented students would be provided purely academic subjects to prepare them for the rigors of university. A collaboration between the Queensland Academies, ABC Training and the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training has changed this tradition by implementing a program that provides high-achieving students an opportunity to cultivate practical skills and knowledge developing higher capability learning in a practical setting.

The program is founded on MSL30118 Certificate III in Laboratory Skills which is highly customised and enhanced to meet the needs of the gifted students. ABC works with the schools to identify the content foci and develop a holistic and immersive program whether that be:

  • Medical
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Environmental
  • Food
  • Geotechnical
  • Engineering
  • Construction

All stakeholders including the school, industry, parents and universities have indicated that the program has exceed all expectations providing students with both enhanced skills as well as demonstrable experience to excel in their chosen fields.

As a testament to the success of this program, a recent graduate of the Queensland Academies who undertook this program recently was accepted to Harvard University and applied to become a laboratory assistant. The student was successful in their application over all others primarily due to having completed this course.

Similarly, in ABC’s discussions with many Australian universities, most of our university partners indicate a significant increase in skills of good laboratory techniques, greater application of statistical mathematics in first-year students, and demonstrable industry skills as a result of participation in this program.

This course is testament to the applicability and success students can achieve through the integration of vocational courses into academic pathways.

For more information or if you would like your school to participate in a VET in Schools please contact [email protected]

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