Vocation education sector needs more than new buildings

Its no secret that secondary schools have never been very good at supporting vocational educational pathways into jobs. New vocational education facilities are being built at Seven Hills High School and that’s an important and commendable signal in the change of emphasis by the NSW state government.

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Its no secret that secondary schools have never been very good at supporting vocational educational pathways into jobs. New vocational education facilities are being built at Seven Hills High School and that’s an important and commendable signal in the change of emphasis by the NSW state government. [1]

The German experience, long a hallmark of a dual education system, shows that there are issues to resolve. [2] Low achieving and migrant students find themselves increasingly marginalised and competing with academically bright students for vocational education places. Female students are often encouraged to undertake courses in care industries instead of higher paid and traditionally male oriented jobs. Metrics and targets for female and low achieving students will help ensure equity.

Students, parents, teachers and employers are all confused by the myriad of options available in a fragmented education sector. Many fail to understand the importance of early decisions. Many simply do not know or are too busy with the day to day to care. How do we reach them? Age appropriate communication and tools to explore pathways, implications of early decisions and future consequences are important adjuncts to providing much needed new facilities.

There’s no silver bullet but an understanding of the issues and risks will help schools navigate their way through Australia’s emerging education sector of the future.

[1] https://www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/new-vocational-facilities-at-seven-hills-high-school

[2] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1024258919898115