National Report on Schooling in Australia 2013

National initiatives and achievements

2.5 Supporting senior years of schooling and youth transitions

Australian governments are committed to working with all school sectors to support the senior years of schooling and provision of high-quality pathways to facilitate effective transitions between further study, training and employment (Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians 2008).

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has established targets to lift the Year 12 or equivalent attainment rate. Specifically, COAG agreed to a target for 2015 that 90 per cent of 20–24-year-olds will have achieved Year 12 or equivalent, or an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Certificate II or above, and a target for 2020 that 90 per cent of 20–24-year-olds will have achieved Year 12 or equivalent or an AQF Certificate III or above ¹ .

National Partnership on Youth Attainment and Transitions

To support achievement of the attainment targets, to increase educational participation and attainment of young people and to improve their transition to post-school education, training and employment, COAG established the National Partnership on Youth Attainment and Transitions, which included the Compact with Young Australians. This national partnership ran from July 2009 to December 2013 and provided $706 million of project and reward funding.

The Compact with Young Australians included a National Youth Participation Requirement, which required young people to participate in schooling (or an approved equivalent) until they completed Year 10, and then participate full-time (at least 25 hours per week) in education, training or employment, or a combination of these activities, until age 17. This came into effect nationally in 2010, effectively raising the minimum school (or approved equivalent) leaving age in several jurisdictions and making it consistent across the country. Since that time, there have been overall increases in the apparent rates of student progression and retention to the later years of schooling, and in the proportion of 15–19-year-olds participating in education and training. These developments are reported in Part 4.2: Student participation – progression and retention, and Part 6.2: Senior schooling and youth transitions – participation.

Trade Training Centres in Schools Program

The Trade Training Centres in Schools Program, which commenced in 2008, was designed to provide students at eligible secondary schools with access to modern facilities to undertake vocational education and training (VET). The funding was provided to construct new or upgrade existing training facilities and install industry standard equipment. $1.4 billion funding was approved for 511 projects benefiting over 1,290 schools.

This program supports and complements existing programs for VET in Schools, and school- based apprenticeships and traineeships operating in all states and territories. Under these programs, school students are able to combine school study with training towards an accredited AQF VET qualification.

Digital Education Revolution

Ensuring learning in the senior years is supported by access to computers, online tools and resources, and teaching expertise in using information and communication technologies (ICT) is an agreed strategy for supporting senior schooling and youth transitions under the Melbourne Declaration.

Through the National Partnership Agreement on the Digital Education Revolution (DER), the Australian Government provided more than $2.1 billion from 2008 to 2013 to:

• provide new ICT equipment for all secondary schools with students in Years 9–12 through the National Secondary Schools Computer Fund
• provide technical advice and support for national initiatives through the National Schools Interoperability Program
• support implementation of the Australian Curriculum through the Australian Curriculum Connect Project, enabling the use, sharing and discovery of digital resources aligned with the new curriculum.

Career development resources and initiatives

myfuture is Australia’s free online career information service created to assist career planning, career pathways and work transitions. It is accessed by a range of users including secondary school students, school leavers, parents, teachers, career practitioners and adults.

The myfuture website is a joint initiative of the Australian Government, and state and territory governments, which was updated and relaunched in December 2013. The Australian Government provided $2.1 million for the maintenance and redevelopment of the website during 2013.

The Job Guide publication helps young people to explore entry level occupations and to make subject choices. The Job Guide also provides information for those who have a role in supporting students, such as teachers, career practitioners in schools, and employment service providers. Job Guide is distributed each year to all Australian schools with Year 10 students. In 2013, the Australian Government provided $1.4 million for the development, printing and distribution of Job Guide, in both hard copy and online.

To coincide with the release of the National Career Development Strategy in May 2013, eight Making Career Connections initiatives were implemented in July and August 2013, totalling $6.1 million. The initiatives focussed on four priority areas including:

• involving industry more actively in career development
• building career development skills in individuals
• improving young people’s exposure to the world of work
• improving quality and professionalism of the career development industry.

The initiatives were designed to support young people to gain the skills they need to make effective career decisions; and are all due for completion in the 2014–15 financial year.

Further information on senior schooling and transitions, including the key performance measures related to this commitment, is in Part 6: Senior schooling and youth transitions.

¹ The AQF is the national framework of qualifications in the school, vocational education and training (VET), and higher education sectors in Australia. The Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, Certificate II and Certificate III are qualifications within the AQF.

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