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School to work skills for South Australian students

Department of Education and Children's Services

Boosting the number of high school students heading for university, highly skilled jobs and careers in science and mathematics are the aims of a new four-point $5.7m initiative of the South Australian Government.

State Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has announced details of four new School to Work programs to run over the next three years, starting in up to 60 schools in 2008. Over three years, the new programs will help schools create ‘school to work’ initiatives that:

  • prepare students for highly skilled jobs in areas of key industry demand;
  • encourage more students to pursue careers in science and mathematics;
  • target students who need to improve literacy and numeracy, including skills relevant to the workplace, before they begin the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE);
  • help students to become the first in their family to go to university.

The programs are part of the State Government’s $84m School to Work strategy, which includes introducing a new SACE and developing 10 new Trade Schools for the Future.

Government, Catholic and Independent schools across the State are being invited to apply to be involved, sharing in an initial $1.9m in grants with industry and university partners.

A major part of the new SACE is making sure students are effectively prepared to move from school into further education, training and highly skilled jobs. This suite of new programs will help schools to pioneer innovative ways to keep students engaged in education and training and to prepare for work opportunities while they complete the SACE.

The grants are in addition to $4.8m in grants, announced last month, to train more than 7,500 teachers across Catholic, Independent and Government schools and trial elements of the new certificate before today’s Year 9 students start the new SACE from 2009.

The new certificate builds on the strengths of the current SACE and will include compulsory English and mathematics subjects at Stage 1 (Year 11), a broader range of choices for students and agreed performance standards that students will need to achieve.

The first students will graduate in 2011 with the new SACE ‘passport’ to a better future.

Secondary schools will be invited this week to apply for School to Work grants through one of four programs in 2008 listed below. 

1.  School to Work Industry Pathways Program

The program will match students with local industries in areas of key skills demand, with a focus on defence and mining, health and community services and advanced manufacturing. Students will receive industry-endorsed training as part of their tailored SACE studies, with the aim of helping them into apprenticeships, further training, employment or higher education. The programs will be developed hand-in-hand with business through industry skills boards, key employer groups and training providers. For example, an engineering program developed with the Manufacturing Industry Skills Advisory Council SA – in which students learn industry specific mathematics and English applicable to welding, machining and using tools – will be used as a model for other industries.

2. School to Work Mathematics and Science Program

The program will encourage students to pursue mathematics and sciences at school and beyond by using innovative ways of teaching these subjects. Schools, universities and industries will team up, bringing to life maths and science for students and helping them see the varied career opportunities on offer. The Australian Science and Mathematics School will lead much of this work with a range of schools. The program will focus on science in 2008 before including mathematics in future years.

3. School to Work Literacy and Numeracy Program

The program will use the results of the Year 9 Literacy and Numeracy Test to identify students in selected schools who need extra support before beginning the SACE. Teachers will use a range of strategies to improve literacy skills, support students to achieve the SACE and better prepare them with literacy skills for work opportunities. The program will focus on literacy in 2008 before involving numeracy in future years.

4. First Generation Program

The program will help young people become the first in their family to go to university. Three models will run in selected schools. One will involve senior secondary students who are identified by their teachers as being mentored by current university students, and who are receiving advice to consider subject choices that set them on the best path to tertiary education. Another, to run in targeted schools in the northern Adelaide suburbs, will encourage students to aspire to university through orientation programs that support them to achieve this goal. Meanwhile, Windsor Gardens Vocational College will harness its work in this area to lead a group of schools in developing successful models for helping students into university.

Successful examples will be shared with schools across the State to give more students more opportunities to achieve their potential.

The School to Work initiatives are part of our plan for building a strong, skilled work force at a time of massive industry investment and confidence in South Australia.


Subject Headings

VET (Vocational Education and Training)
Senior secondary education
Transitions in schooling
South Australia