Weekly Column from the Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta
Growing up in Western Sydney in the 1950s and 60s, career choice was simple: blue collar or white. As we approached the school leaving age of 15, this decision often locked you in for life. Students today have many more options, starting at a school level!
It was fairly standard for my classmates to finish school at the end of Year 10. In my family, the opportunity to complete Year 12 and go to university was a first. Like my parents, I think lots of families today feel a similar sense of uncertainty in supporting their children in decision-making about school and work, due to rapid change.
As you know, the current generation will have more jobs than Barbie. It’s a powerful argument for working hard at school, and also making sure schools are delivering learning that’s relevant to students’ future working lives. This means developing skills to support students in responding to change.
At a practical level, it’s also possible to kickstart your career through Vocational Education and Training at school. This provides a chance to experience work placements and build communication, organisation and other useful skills. Many students gain real-world qualifications this way, and a HSC too.
It’s especially important for our kids to keep their options open. Did you know that only 26% of university students use their ATAR for admission to their course? Early entry to university courses is becoming increasingly common, with more and more students gaining a place through school even before the HSC happens.
In comparison to the straightforward learning journey and career pathways many people of my generation have known, there is much uncharted territory for school students. I firmly believe a really great education remains the very best compass a young person could take along on this exciting journey into the unknown.
Greg Whitby AM
Executive Director of Schools – Diocese of Parramatta