Schools need to provide their students with careers education earlier than they currently do if young people are to be adequately prepared for the world of work, a new report shows.
The New Work Reality report, the latest in the New Work Order series from Foundation for Young Australians found that half of 25 year olds aren’t in full-time work, despite nearly 60% having a post-school qualification.
Mitchell Institute director, Megan O’Connell, said the findings are yet another warning that Australia’s education system isn’t working for too many people.
“We can’t keep focusing on last century’s education milestones, it is not enough anymore to get good high school grades or even go on to further study and training,” O’Connell said.
“The goal of a good education system should be to make sure every young person is on a positive pathway by their mid-20s, in meaningful employment and on a real trajectory for lifelong success.”
O’Connell said the education system can’t wait for students to reach tertiary education before they learn about what work they might want to explore.
“Students can start thinking about what they enjoy and what they are good at as early as primary school and learn about how they might contribute to different jobs,” she said, adding that there should be greater support for industry partnerships across all areas of education.
“If we don’t prioritise capabilities, we risk falling behind international education standards. Capabilities are not a new or novel concept, they have a long history in education systems around the world,” she said.
O’Connell said education institutions can start making changes to improve outcomes for young people, including marking work experiences a core part of courses so that all students can participate.
Another of the Institute’s recommendations is designing new models of learning to allow students to have less contact hours and more time to work and improving transitions across all areas of education.
The report said the education system should also improve transitions across all areas of education to make students’ journeys through school, university, vocational training and work more cohesive.
“We need young people to be able to recognise and talk about their abilities and talents, and assess themselves and others in different learning environments,” O’Connell said.