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Paul

Paul Boys

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: Victoria Education > Secondary
Trades > General
To evaluate international models for the facilitation of trades based learning in a secondary school environment - Canada, USA
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Conclusions and Recommendations 

The opportunity to travel, observe and participate in a variety of innovative engagement strategies has allowed me to develop an overall perspective that all students are important and need to be supported to maximise their opportunities for success. The best outcomes for all community members are achieved when all relevant parties are working towards the same goal with a shared understanding of the need to place the student at the centre of any program design. Each organisation that I visited was facing similar challenges to those in Australia and they have all implemented a unique approach to supporting young people to remain connected to schools and community. No system was able to respond effectively to all the challenges as faced, but a combination of ideas, presented as a new approach and developed in collaboration with all partners would be the best response. Based on these visits and the experiences of schools, industry and community, I am putting forward the following recommendations to allow all youth within our communities to achieve their best and be supported for years to come.

  • Greater collaboration between schools – School District Model to be further explored so that schools in regional communities are sharing spaces, experience and equipment to better the region as a whole. I see this as a critical component to supporting regional aspirations.
  • Youth Mentoring – support person for apprenticeships and training from school to industry and post-completion. Although this is a component of the Australian system, through AASN, we need to link students to workplace mentors who are supported and trained in working with apprentices to improve their outcomes.
  • Credits to college and high school diploma – recognising school credits to reduce the cost and time associated with further study. Additional research needs to be facilitated around how students can have flexibility to move between high school, VET and employment whilst still maintaining their connection to community and the opportunity to achieve a high school qualification that is recognised across sectors and is malleable to link skills between each sector
  • Innovation and the freedom to take risks – allow teachers and industry to collaborate to facilitate the best outcomes for their needs. Industry needs to have more recognition and influence in the development of training skill sets to remove the barriers that can exist in the current VET frameworks
  • Piloting of new and creative ideas – the freedom to fail and learn – build on creative ideas and resource the most suitable to support development, evaluation and implementation. Set up a framework that supports new ideas and concepts to build new initiatives and pilot these with formal evaluation and assessment of their practicality.
  • Further investigation of the Swiss VET system and how elements could be applied to the Australian experience – the Careerwise model in Colorado is based on these learning experiences. A Victorian delegation needs to travel and experience the program to learn about how a modern, productive VET system operates with a true collaborative model of ownership
  • Industry involvement in program development, implementation and course structures – examples from the P-Tech Model with IBM and Paul Robeson High allowing for programs to be built by industry, matched to curriculum outcomes and supported through funding by governments. Great work is already underway within Australia around this space following the initiatives implemented by Nicholas Wyman, who was a 2012 Churchill Fellow. The P-Tech model is currently operational across a number of sites in Australia and further research needs to be reviewed around the benefits and applications of the model.
  • Freedom to tailor nationally recognised programs to meet the needs of industry – more flexibility in the structure of training programs so RTO’s are responsive to the needs of industry
  • Micro-credentialing of workplace and community skill sets to empower young people to move freely between industries with transferable and recognisable skills Greater influence from State and Federal governments to support students and industry to value the apprenticeship and traineeship system
  • Flexible high school completion opportunities including self-directed learning and individual learning plans – young people need greater flexibility in how they can achieve their year 12 equivalency with work, VET and external community engagement being considered as suitably recognisable skills within the framework of recognised outcomes
  • Career counsellors in high schools having greater involvement in local industry through a formalised mentoring program – this is offered through the Careerwise network in Colorado and provides additional support and mentoring to apprentices throughout their course of study and into the first years of work.
  • Equity and accessibility for all – financial barriers to access need to be removed and students must be encouraged to participate in education for as long as possible to provide them with the best platform for future success. Costs associated with certain subject choices need to be removed to allow Victorian students thee same level of access as those in many communities within the USA and Canada
  • Supporting the development of structured research teams within TAFE’s to grow their influence on education with a clear linkage to school curriculum and skills. VET practitioners need to be more influential in the development of Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) framework, supporting greater connections to applied learning in a contemporary industry environment.
  • Further investment in teacher training to support a “real-world” industry led learning environment that mimics the modern workplace. This again supports the need for VET practitioners to be influencing school curriculum at the VCAL level.
  • Support industry to invest in young people and their skills development through tax offsets and other mechanisms to drive collaboration. Industry also needs to have their input recognised at a curriculum level that is recognising the needs of their local communities
  • Greater exposure to industry and future opportunities for students whilst they are at school through work experience, career expo’s and modern day apprenticeships that link students to their communities whilst exposing them to work. 

Keywords: Education, Students, Vocational Education and Training (VET), Opportunity, Equality, Technology, School based training, Apprenticeships, Traineeships

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