Government Pledges Employment Pathways For Students

Parklands and Burnie high schools will participate in a pilot program partnering students with local business if a Coalition government is re-elected.

Pathways in Technology, which has a pilot period of four years, aims to improve employment outcomes and students’ performance in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). 

The election promise was delivered on Monday at Jayben Australia by Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham, his state counterpart Jeremy Rockliff, and Braddon MHR Brett Whiteley.

Described as a “low cost program”, the $4.6 million national commitment would deliver about $300,000 to each site, Mr Birmingham said. 

“Ultimately Pathways in Technology is about proving a low cost program that is really about finding a way for schools to connect with local business.

“Around 75 per cent of Australia’s fastest growing industries require STEM skills but unfortunately the performance of Australian children in mathematics, science and reading has declined over time.

“Our investment for this pilot will fund specific supports to encourage and facilitate collaboration between the schools and businesses.”

Under the pilot, the two North-West high schools would partner with the Elphinstone/William Adams Group, Jayben Australia and Maltec Engineering. 

“It’s exactly what we need as a committed community, committed school children,” Jayben Australia director Allan Johnson said. 

“But we’ve got to show the opportunities are there and that’s where we see our role.”

Parklands High School principal Suzanne Barnes said the program would complement the school’s ongoing work with the Beacon Foundation.

“It’s important for kids to know that communities value what they’re learning,” Ms Barnes said. 

“The issue for us is you teach a subject in a classroom,the students don’t necessarily think that the teacher knows anything but bringing someone in from the industry brings it home to kids that this is a skill that they will need in the future.

“It’s not just want their maths or science teacher says, it’s more real.”

Labor candidate for Braddon Justine Keay said improving STEM outcomes was also a centrepiece of Labor policy.

“We will invest $9 million to make sure every student in every school gets the opportunity to learn computer coding.

“We will also ensure all students study STEM to Year 12 and make sure all STEM teachers are qualified in their discipline by 2020.”

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