NSW Business Chamber chief executive, Stephen Cartwright, has claimed that the NSW education system isn’t doing enough to prepare students for the workplace – but there are ways to improve the situation.
The latest NSW Business Chamber report showed that NSW secondary schools favour traditional academic subjects that emphasise students’ entry to university rather than helping them “transition from school to the workforce”.
"A key problem in NSW is that it is still governed by ‘education logic' and a focus on university pathways, rather than the 'employment logic' found in countries such as Germany and Denmark,” Cartwright said.
“Employment logic emphasises apprenticeships and helping students transition from school to the workforce.
"We need to take a serious look at existing school culture which privileges traditional academic subjects, and find a better way to cater for the more than 60% of school leavers who choose not to attend university immediately after school."
The report also revealed a link between “effective vocational training” and low youth unemployment, urging schools to prioritise VET, by allocating more staff and physical resources, as well as improving careers advice and guidance.
"It is no accident that countries like Germany and Austria have effective vocational education and training (VET) systems and low youth unemployment," stated the report.
"In these countries, there is a strong co-operative effort by government, employers and educators to design and deliver the kind of education and training which provides mutual benefits to industry and young people. The market will not do this on its own."
Best practice initiatives to prepare students for work can also be found closer to home. A new pilot program, called Venture Dorm, will be rolled out in April to teachers in SA schools to help them inspire the entrepreneurial spirit of their students.
"Children by nature are curious and innovative,” said Leanna Read, Chief Scientist for South Australia
"If we apply an entrepreneurial culture into the school curriculum, particularly in maths and science, we can help students unleash their creativity and develop the jobs and industries of the future."
Read added that through inspiring an “entrepreneurial mindset” in students, teachers would help them develop the skills they need when they join the workforce.
HAVE YOUR SAY: What do you think schools could be doing to prepare students for the workforce?