I went to uni because my girlfriend was going to uni.
I had no idea.
I struggled through my degree. I struggled to avoid teaching. I struggled to find my way in the world beyond school.
After washing cars and working in bars I went into marketing and then became an English teacher. It didn't stop there. I went into TAFE, then into HR, then into designing training programs for industry before going into system design and IT.
At one stage I became a world expert on collaboration frameworks!!
Now I am an expert in career paths from school in Western Australia.
You can tap into my expertise by subscribing to my newsletter for West Australian high schools or by working with me online as we design your perfect next step.
Contact me at Bev.J@infocus-careers.com.au or M: 0434056412
Discover what is possible at Uni Open Days. Year 11 is time to bite off more than you can chew.
If you went to Open Days in Year 10 you will have an idea of what to expect and how to prepare. If you didn’t go last year, don’t worry. Follow the steps below.
Have fun at Open Day.
Step 1 Humanities or Science
You need to narrow down what you want to see. There is too much to see at an Open Day so if you don’t think about it before you go, you could miss out on important stuff.
Think about which direction do you want to take when you leave school? What are 3 humanities or science courses that you might be interested in?
See a careers advisor if you do not have any idea what you want to do.
Step 2 Which universities run the 3 courses?
You don’t need to go to EVERY open day. If you want to have a career in medicine for example, check out what each uni has to offer, then go to the ones that interest you.
Step 3 Check the Open Day Programs
There will be presentations planned throughout the day. The schedule will be online. Plan to go to as many information sessions as possible.
Prepare questions to ask during or after the session.
Universities have support services like First in Family to Go to Uni, or Disability Support Services or Aboriginal Support Services. Contact them and find out how they can help you to get the most from the Open Day program.
Step 4 Go to the Open Day
Have your itinerary ready.
Go to as many information sessions as possible. Have questions ready.
Explore the campus and find vital information like, where are the key buildings you need, where is the library, where the student services building is.
There will be student guides. Ask them about the uni, the course and job prospects.
Talk to people. Ask questions. This is not the time to be cautious.
Year 10 is when you dive deep to get exposed to university life.
Check out the food stalls. Try new gadgets. Explore the campus. Go to some talks. See what you like.
Step 1: Before you go
Before you go to the Open Day spend 30 minutes checking out the uni website to see all of the different courses. Pick 2 different subject areas like science and education, to focus on.
Each area will have a number of courses to choose from, like in education you can study primary school and high school and within each of those there are lots of options. Choose which ones you want to fine out about.
Step 2: Get a Plan
There will be an open day program. Check it out to see what course information sessions you can go to.
Locate the buildings on the university website and plan to go to two talks or displays.
Step 3: Explore
Go to the Open Day. Take a tour of the libraries, student clubs, labs and workshops and even the accommodation. Do you like it there?
Talk to some current students about what they like and what they plan to do when they finish.
Check the displays, talks and course information presentations.
Find lecturers to talk to and ask them what the best thing about their course is.
IF NECESSARY CHANGE SUBJECT SELECTIONS WHEN BACK AT SCHOOL
The sites where the university is located.
The academic staff who work in a division or school at a university, or even the school itself, like the Education Faculty.
A degree is the standard university qualification and is recognised worldwide. Most degrees take three to four years to complete.
The first degree you study at university is called an undergraduate degree, e.g. Bachelor of Arts.
A person who has not yet completed their first degree.
Level 1 = your first yearLevel 2 = your second yearLevel 3 = your third year
Courses are the blocks of subjects or units that make up the qualification. A 3 year Bachelor degree course has 24 units:12 Level 1 units @ 6 subjects/semester8 Level 2 units @ 4 subjects/semester4 Level 3 units @ 2 per semester You can mix this up but you can’t do more than 12 first year units and you need to do at least 4 third year units.
A major is you chosen area to study. You will do a sequence of units in that field right through your degree If you choose to major in systems engineering your units will focus on designing, planning and modelling networks, on maths, engineering law and other units that will lead to you knowing how to design robust, reliable systems.
If you think you are going to spend the best years of your life at university, you’d better make sure you go to the right one.
Step 1 Make a shortlist of courses
See a careers advisor if you do not have any idea what you want to do. If you have a clear goal you will relax and focus on what you are learning.
Make a shortlist of 3 courses you may want to do in the industry of your choice:
Check course guides to make sure you meet prerequisites. If not, make a note to ask about alternative entry courses at the Open Day.
Step 2 Which universities run the 3 courses?
Universities run a good range of courses. If you want to do something with computers, for example, which universities seem to have the best choices?
Step 3 Check the Open Day program on each university’s website
Plan to go to the Open Day course information sessions which are scheduled.
Write specific questions to ask during or after presentations.
Check units in courses to see what they involve.
Discuss your plan with your family.
Universities have support services like First in Family to Go to Uni, or Disability Support Services or Aboriginal Support Services. Contact them and find out how they can help you to get the most from the program.
Step 4 Go to the Open Day
Go with a family member or someone who cares about your future.
Have your itinerary ready and know where to go on campus for each presentation.
Take an organised tour of the campus and find the key buildings you need, the library and student services that you may not even know exist.
Enquire about parking or public transport. If you need student accommodation find out about that.
There will be guides who are current students. Ask them about the uni, the course and job prospects. You will get good information from them.
Find out about scholarships, overseas study opportunities, clubs and support services.
I loved this month’s newsletter! There were so many useful links that I’m going to use, like the Logistics Training Council publications and the Future skills Framework infographic on our demographic. So much handy information – I even signed up for the Public Sector Commissions job search so that I can pass opportunities for traineeships onto students. (Northern regional Catholic Education School)
Subscribe to the Infocus Careers Newsletter
Become part of the network of West Australian professionals who are working to deliver the best career support in the world.
The recommendations are for cost shifting to a user pays system which will INTRODUCE obstacles to lifelong learning.
As well as shifting from a government pays system, they move away from supporting TAFE delivery again.
You don’t need to have a long memory to recall how this has worked in the past with cheap to deliver courses being taken up by private training providers while expensive, workshop intensive courses were starved for funds in the TAFE system.
The long term impact on skills delivered via the VET system has resulted in a skills shortage now that we can’t import skilled tradies and technical experts from overseas.
The National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development is the framework for intergovernmental collaboration in VET. After ignoring VET for years the government thought it was time to check out what is happening. It asked the Productivity Commission to do a review.
• The National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development is overdue for replacement.– Governments have stepped back from some of its policy aspirations. Targets have not been met and the performance framework has not held governments to account.
The Framework hasn’t been actively managed since the Coalition came to power in 2013 when it no longer saw VET as a priority.Little wonder the Framework overdue for replacement.
• A new intergovernmental agreement should be principles-based, modular (to retain flexibility and currency) and reviewed every five years. – Australian Government funding should remain largely untied for base funding but subject to much greater accountability and transparency.
· contestability in VET markets, with a provider-agnostic approach to training deliveryThis is good new for private RTOs. Check P11 for the Principles which give lots of emphasis to measurement and reporting and not much about how to support quality VET.
• Governments should continue to support the development of a more efficient and competitive VET market through informed user choice and a focus on quality.– Students need better curated information on career opportunities, the performance of training providers, course quality and prices. – Efforts to improve quality should be ramped up through faster changes to training packages, developing an evidence-based VET workforce strategy, and a phased introduction of independent assessment.
“Informed user choice” could be a great thing given the lack of information around VET in WA. “Faster changes to training packages” is good. Industry complains about skills training not keeping up with industry.“Independent assessment” should hold to account some of the shonky providers.
• There is a manifest capacity for governments to achieve a better return on the $6.4 billion spent on VET by:– using the efficient costs and loadings currently being estimated by the National Skills Commission as a common basis for setting and simplifying course subsidies– introducing modest minimum student fees for Certificate III and above courses with exemptions for disadvantaged students– applying more contestability and transparency to public funding of TAFEs and enhancing the operational autonomy of public providers – enabling State and Territory funding to follow students enrolled with an interstate provider.
More collaboration between parties that smooth the transition from school could deliver a more efficient outcome. See Cyril Jackson’s Partnership Model.– I like WA’s course subsidy model that favors training for industries where there are skills shortages. – No. No. No. If we want an economy that keeps up with changes in industry, we must ditch this user pays model. – Contestability of public funding of TAFEs led to the demise of expensive, high tech, “state of the art” training. The priority became making money rather than investing in emerging technologies. – I don’t know how happy WA taxpayers will be with this.
• To scale up workforce skills, governments should expand VET Student Loans (VSL) to more Diploma and above courses and to most Certificate IV courses. – Loan caps should better reflect course costs, and loan fees should be paid by all students.
– Charging people who are trying to keep up with high end and rapid changes in their industry is an interesting concept in a smart economy!! – I think this policy is the wrong way around. To incentivize workers gaining high level skills in a changing economy, Certificate IV and Diploma courses should be heavily subsidized.
• Reforms to the trade apprenticeship system are best focused on:– improving completion rates by better screening and matching of prospective apprentices– making pathways more flexible and providing the same subsidy for non-apprenticeship pathways as for traditional pathways– adjusting the timing of employer incentives to provide more support when the risk of cancellation is greatest
• There should be a coordinated national strategy to improve school education, ‘second-chance’ learning in the VET sector and other adult education services to reduce the large number of Australians with low language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills.
At last, something positive!
• To address some of the key obstacles to lifelong learning, this report proposes improvements in foundation skills, better credit pathways, an expansion of VSL and a trial of a new financing instrument for mature-age Australians reskilling and upskilling
I don’t think this strategy will achieve this aim.
Curtin, UWA and Notre Dame universities all offer a medical degree course and UWA also offers dentistry. None of these universities has planned a 2021 information session although Notre Dame will probably do an online information session given the positive feedback they got for their 2020 online session which is still available online.
To get into medicine in WA you need to get outstanding academic results, get better results than most on an external University Clinical Admission Test and undertake a regime of Multiple Mini Interviews.
School students should apply for medicine at Curtin or Direct Entry at UWA through the normal TISC process.
This course is not available to International Onshore Students on Student Visas.
Length of Course: 5 Years
ATAR: 95 (there are conditions around this that need to be explored HERE.)
Essential WACE courses
Essential: Chemistry ATAR, or equivalent. (Contact the Course Coordinator to find out what to do if you don’t have chemistry.)
Applicants are required to successfully complete a First Aid Certificate (including CPR) or equivalent by the completion of the first semester of the course. Students are also required to obtain criminal record history clearance, Working with Children Check as well as relevant immunisations and health screening.
Desirable WACE courses
Mathematics Methods ATAR, Mathematics Specialist ATAR or Mathematics Applications ATAR
Desirable: Study in one of the following Mathematics ATAR courses is desirable:
Mathematics Applications, Mathematics Methods, Mathematics Specialist, or equivalent.
You can find my notes from the 2017 presentation with suggestions from students HERE.
Applicants must be Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or New Zealand citizens who have successfully completed year 12 with a Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) or an equivalent senior secondary qualification and have an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), or equivalent.
Applicants will be ranked based on the following categories:
Non-school leavers (notional ATAR from previous tertiary studies and UCAT)
Curtin course switchers (Course Weighted Average from current studies and UCAT).
Top ranked applicants will be invited to attend a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). The interview process provides an opportunity for shortlisted applicants to demonstrate how they communicate, critically appraise information, and think about issues important to the medical profession. Applicants will be ranked and selected for offer based on their ATAR or equivalent, the UCAT score and the MMI score. Final selection will be made by this composite score. Applicants for this course should refer to the Curtin website for more information on specific admission requirements for Medicine. http://courses.curtin.edu.au/course_overview/admission-requirements/medicine.cfm
Multiple Mini Interview Those students who score highest on their ATAR and UCAT will be given an interview. See notes below on Multiple Mini Interviews.
A personal folio that demonstrates your suitability for medicine at Notre Dame.
Grade Point Average
Notre Dame says that successful applicants will already have a degree with a minimum Grade Point Average of 5. This score may be misleading as students usually have a Grade Point Average higher than 6.
Applicants must undertake the Graduate Medical School Admission Test (GAMSAT).
Applicants are also required to undertake an interview process…. which is described below.
Notre Dame Folio
Notre Dame also requires a Student of Medicine Application Folio which demonstrates more about the student’s personal attributes and suitability for acceptance.
Notre Dame usually wants to know WHY you want to study at Notre Dame and WHY you want to study the course you have chosen for any course so you would need to be clear on that.
Notre Dame offers a Pre-Medicine Certificate that its students can take WHILE they are doing their undergraduate degree (and getting a high GPA!).
This pathway also provides students with a mentor from the ND School of Medicine.
Completion of this Certificate will guarantee an INTERVIEW as part of the medical course application process if your GPA and GAMSAT reach the minimal score. It does not guarantee a place within the program.
Multiple Mini Interviews
The interview process is made up of 8 Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs). You move from each interview into 8 different rooms. You are given a question and have 3 minutes to prepare your answer, then you go into the room and give your response for 8 minutes. There are two rest breaks.
The MMI’s take 88 minutes.
I have heard this process described as an endurance test.
Interviews are done by trained MMI interviewers who are trying to determine your suitability for the medical profession.
YouTube videos and sites like MedStudents Online and Whirlpool will give you some ideas about what to expect BUT your experienced interviewers are not looking for rehearsed answers, they want to know about you and your suitability for the profession.
Curtin and UWA Direct Entry require a UCAT score as part of their application process.
This test may be taken from 1 July – 11 August.
There are thorough instructions, trial tests and videos available on the UCAT site.
I like asking questions on Whirlpool.net.au . It might not be any more reliable than Facebook but you get to ask people who are in the field for their thoughts. You can even ask what students at different unis think about their medical courses.
Medstudentsonline is similar to Whirlpool. You can join in discussion threads about the application process.
Being a doctor is a tough gig.
I have provided career advice to a brilliant ATAR student who said there was no way he was going into medicine. Both of his parents were doctors and he saw the emotional toll it was taking on them and on their family life. He thought he might become a physics teacher.
The health industry is the fastest growing industry in Australia and Australian health scientists are up there with the leaders in many fields of specialisation.
The application of AI to diagnostics and the use of robotics is creating a boom in new health related career choices. West Australian universities are onto this and competing to be leaders in new postgraduate health education fields.
Good Luck with Your Choices.
SCHOOLS PRESENTATION ON GETTING INTO MEDICINE
I bring together the key information you need about getting into medicine in WA in a one-hour presentation about West Australian medical degree courses.
This is a snapshot of universities in Western Australia.
BEST IN AUSTRALIA
88.4% of Notre Dame undergraduate students were satisfied with the overall quality of their learning experience according to the Quality Indicators of Learning and Teaching (QILT).
91.1% Were positive about their skills development.
76.6% found full time employment
Notre Dame is a Catholic University but you don’t need to be Catholic or Christian or even religious to go there, and the fees are comparable with other universities.
The point of difference is that Notre Dame does have a spiritual, values driven, caring approach to teaching and learning which underpins their interactions and decision making. That’s why they are topping the QILT ratings.
It is quite a small university with 10,000 students and the vast majority of them are domestic students.
The university is in beautiful renovated old buildings around Fremantle.
Pastoral care and support developed for international students has been made available to help regional and remote students to settle in. The only shortcoming is the lack of Notre Dame student accommodation but the student support services people will help students to find accommodation to meet their needs.
Curtin is by far our biggest university with over 50,000 students. It seems like a city with business centres, shops, gyms, accommodation and bands and food trucks, art galleries and theatres.
I think undergraduate students could have a ball at Curtin, but the sheer size of of the place can be daunting. You need to actively work at getting engaged with the Curtin community, both social and academic, to make the most of your Curtin experience.
Curtin knows this and has invested in providing plenty of help for new students and for students with special needs, but it is up to you to seek it out.
Because of the size of the university there are many opportunities available for students to extend their experience, in Australia and internationally.
Curtin is part of a knowledge precinct in Bentley with CSIRO, Tech Park and the Pawsey supercomputer in the area. Staff and students actively seek to engage with industry to get knowledge and experience and do industry based research. It is number 2 in the world for Metals and Mining Engineering programs. This industry focus underpins the feel at Curtin.
Curtin seems exciting, dynamic and very cosmopolitan with lots of international students and with campuses in Malaysia, Singapore and Dubai as well as the one at Bentley and in Kalgoorlie.
ECU – Edith Cowan University
The Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching ranks ECU as the top public university in Australia for undergraduates’ student experience. You can feel the quality of the experience when you contact ECU for information. They get back to you. They try to help.
ECU started as a college for teacher training and gradually expanded its courses with WAAPA being one of the first ventures into new areas. Now WAAPA has a reputation as one of the BEST performing arts learning academies in the world.
ECU’s more recent expansion has been into engineering with significant investment into new facilities, international learning opportunities and strong demand for graduates.
ECU is pretty big but students are on the Mt Lawley and Joondalup campuses so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.
The buildings are great examples of design with some of the coolest architecture in Western Australia.
ECU is manageable and there is a strong student centric management focus which means students get help to succeed. There are many alternate pathways into ECU including the UniPrep program and experienced based entry.
People who didn’t think they could get into uni and succeed can are supported to thrive at ECU.
Murdoch has recognised that the world is changing and that there is a disconnect between education and where jobs are emerging. It has introduced “adaptive expertise” as a learning spine being introduced across the university.
They are focusing on adapting traditional courses with the application of technologies. So History + STEM could result in machine learning that unearths previously unknown information about cultures. Journalism + STEM, as seen in the use of drones, is revealing what is happening in emergency or war environments.
Murdoch has a strong focus on getting girls into engineering. They have engaged with schools and support in industry to lift the number of girls entering this field which delivers 25% of the world’s CEOs.
Murdoch has the biggest percentage of international students in WA.
They are teaching students to think globally, to seek ways to apply technology to their work and to work collaboratively.
UWA – University of Western Australia
This is our oldest university. Many industry, political and community leaders in Western Australia went to UWA which gives strong links between UWA and leaders across the State.
The UWA campus is beautiful with Winthrop Hall being the most recognised symbol of “a university” in WA. The gardens, theatres and art gallery and its role as the initiator of the Festival of Perth make UWA a hub of culture.
UWA has positioned itself as the university for high academic performers and many high achieving school leavers identify UWA as their first preference.
CQU – Central Queensland University
This is a new comer to Western Australia and it is working hard to attract students from their traditional university pathways with courses in sonography and echocardiography which are new to WA.
The main campus is located near the bottom of William Street near Elizabeth Quay and they have set up study hubs in Busselton, Broome, Geraldton and Karratha. These are often on TAFE campuses.
Many of the students are mature aged, external students who make use of online learning, occasional face to face contact and phone calls to fit their learning around their work and other demands.
Although there are 20,000 students at CQU, they are spread across Australia and numbers in WA are still quite small.
Still not sure what to do?
Go to the university open days
Contact the university career advisors. They are paid to help you.
Contact me. I will be able to point you in the right direction for help.
Director of In Focus Careers Careers Resources Hub for West Australians.
Career education isn’t social work and it isn’t psychology, although it could be a bit like fortune telling if you don’t keep up with the changes to career development.
These 5 clear steps will help you to build your capacity to confidently lead students to their best career.
Be an expert
You can’t wing it as a career advisor. People believe you are the expert. People believe what you say. A flippant comment or ill informed advice from you can change the direction of their lives.
Don’t do computer programming. Computers are a passing fad.
1990’s Phys Ed Teacher/Career Advisor to high school student in Geraldton
You have a personal responsibility to be the expert, to KNOW where to look for the right information.
STEP 1: Get a qualification. Join professional organisations. Make sure your skills are current.
Moore’s Law says the capacity of computers doubles every two years. I think the pace of change is doubling every two years. I look back on 2019 and it seems like ancient history.
You can’t keep up with the changes that every student is experiencing. What they bring to the table in 2021 is going to be vastly different to what you would have expected from a similar student in 2019.
If you bring a deep appreciation of how much things have changed to the table, you will be more able to listen, empathise and question until you understand.
STEP 2: Appreciate the world view of your student.
Everyone, from the OECD and World Economic Forum to teachers writing to parents, is trying to help people to make rational, data driven career decisions.
There is so much change flickering into view. Career advisors must be able to discriminate between the latest bright, new, shiny thing, and a substantial initiative that could deliver a lifetime of career satisfaction.
STEP 3: Do the hard yards. Study the research. Go to conferences. Keep up with professional developments.
I love tech. The latest gadget, app, block chain initiative sends me down rabbit holes for hours.
If you don’t love tech, you need to figure out how to keep up.
STEP 4: Find out about digital career tools at meetings, conferences and workshops.
When I worked in Arnhem Land the whole community worked to support students to find their best career.
We had NorForce (Defence) taking on cadets, unionists working as Master (Electrician) Mentors to would-be apprentices, the principal’s sister in Cairns providing accommodation to an interior design work experience student. Every business in town was willing to take people for work experience. Ex students and community members were mentoring students.
Throughout Western Australia, there is significant goodwill on the table waiting to engage with and support students who want to explore career opportunities and develop knowledge and skills.
STEP 5: Reach out and collaborate with your community, with industryor with the In Focus Careers network to expand the opportunities available to your students.
Deliver Insanely Great Career Education
Keep up to date with the latest career news in Western Australia. Subscribe to the Infocus Careers Newsletter as your first step towards linking to a world of insanely great career ideas.
Infocus Careers is an independent organisation which is solely supported by insanely great subscribers who share information with me, support each other and help me to pay my bills.
I can talk about careers under water so if you would like to chat about how I can help you to improve your career or the services you deliver, give me a ring on 0434056412 or email me at Bev.J@infocus-careers.com.au
Become part of the network of West Australian professionals who are working to deliver the best career support in the world.
Since I took on the In Focus Careers Resources Centre, I have been cocooned in my home office, endeavouring to set up the world’s best career education support network right here in WA.
2021 is my time to break out of my cocoon and spread my wings.
I have stepped up to take on the role of President of the WA Division of the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA) for 2021.
The more I work with the CDAA the more I appreciate their professional commitment to:
They are a cool group of enthusiastic leaders that I wanted to support in the best way I can.
I will be a visible leader who works to build the profile of our industry.
Career services are frequently seen as a “nice to have” luxury by people as they pursue their ad hoc and busy work of getting a qualification and getting a job.
advocate for collaboration between career professionals and with government, industry and community to build our authority in strategic and operational endeavours
enthusiastically share ideas, engage with others and influence the professional development services to achieve excellence in our industry
raise awareness of our power to boost educational achievement, focus career aspirations, and improve quality of life.
Invitation to You
My ask of you is that you….
engage with the CDAA with courage and creativity to become leaders of change with new approaches to the problems of today and tomorrow.
We need experienced, visionary career professionals to be at the core of decision making, advocating for the human and financial value that career services deliver.
You can join the CDAA HERE or support our efforts by attending CDAA events, forwarding your ideas and actively promoting career professionals in Western Australia.
The West Australian CDAA Committee is coming to my place for lunch on Thursday and we will set priorities and add to the CDAA calendar that has already been planned for 2021.
Lisa Liang has already planned the first network breakfast for February at Dome in East Vic Park and it is up on the CDAA Calendar. I will publish that information when it is ready.
Career Connect Rob Palmer has been working for months with Notre Dame to organise the Career Connect seminar for 12 February.
Rob is also the organiser of the Community of Practice meetings which happen on the 4th Tuesday of each month. Rob has suggested that we start these meeting with a short presentation from an expert before we move onto our informal chat.
CEAWA has agreed to work with us to build on the efforts put in by Robyn Ekberg, CEAWA and Rebecca Herbertson CDAA that were stopped due to COVID in 2020.
Janine Blake (nee Kannemeyer) has secured the support of the Food Fibre and Timber ITC which is making its meeting rooms available to our Committee.
Vanessa Buemi is Program Coordinator of VET and Curriculum at Cyril Jackson Senior Campus (CJSC). Cyril Jackson is one of a growing number of schools in Western Australia that is engaging with community, government and industry to deliver collaborative learning to students.
Towards the end of last year Vanessa invited me to an industry breakfast that recognised support that had been given to their students from outside the school.
Vanessa has kindly allowed me to share her welcome speech which provides insights about their Partnership Model.
Good morning and thank you for attending our inaugural Industry Breakfast. I’d like to speak about Partnerships at CJSC and our Partnership Model.
In 2021, CJSC trainers will deliver the following Nationally Accredited Certificates.
Automotive vocational preparation
Information digital media and technology 1+2
World of Work
CJSC has historically delivered a diverse range of certificate qualifications, across 7 training industries. In the new Covid world, it is more important than ever before to prepare our students to be successful contributors in our ever evolving new world.
New world, new skills
COVID has changed the employment landscape and whilst we were already proving quality training to students we want to make it even better. Our models link students with authentic work and learning opportunities with employers in the same industries they are completing their training.
Teaching and training is enhanced through connections with the world of work and beyond.
Year 11 Plus Program
Our Yr 11 PLUS program has been providing such opportunities for the last 5 years, initially through a Certificate 1 in Work Preparation and later, Certificate 1 in Business. VET in schools, now called VET delivered to secondary students, has enabled students to begin their training whilst still completing their schooling. University pathways once considered the superior pathway to higher studies has not always been the preferred pathway for all students. We all learn differently, and VET and Workplace Learning opportunities have opened the doors for many, many students.
Policy Changes Delivered a Challenge to CJ Programs
In education, the 2016 new WACE requirements of requiring an ATAR or Certificate II qualification as the minimum requirement to achieve WACE, failed to recognise a substantial proportion of students learning needs; students like those who choose to come to Cyril Jackson to learn English.
Certificate I qualifications were largely overlooked as they did not meet minimum requirements for WACE. Certificate I qualifications disappeared from our auspicing choices and the education gap grew once again.
Our 11 PLUS program, often considered a second chance for students who have disengaged from school for many different reasons, including sociology economic and mental health reasons, has been affected by the disappearance of certificate one qualifications on scope for auspicing.
Innovative Solution to Tricky Problem
Finding a certificate II qualification that would be a suitable fit for the overall program and one that would provide new opportunities to thrive was difficult at first….then I found Certificate II in Active Volunteering which was only on scope for delivery in the Eastern States.
I contacted the provider and literally begged them to get it on scope in WA and told them we would be their trial school. That provider is now one of the largest vocational training providers for VET delivered to secondary Schools in WA.
This qualification fits perfectly with the other courses in the program; our Trainer, Teacher and Student Support Officer had the freedom to make academic and practical links with the content of this qualification and SCSA courses such as English, maths and career and enterprise.
This model works!
Links with Industry
It worked with a certificate I and it works with the certificate II in Active Volunteering because of the links with industry that form an essential role in their education at CJSC.
With the removal of certificate I qualifications it is not enough to simply train students and send them out into the world of work. We have to teach them how to transition from school to work or post school training.
Active Volunteering is a powerful qualification, one that allows students to work with members of the community as mentors and friends for others in need. It has been the foundation of personal and academic growth for once disengaged students, who have applied their learning in a safe and supportive environment.
How Cyril Jackson has met Challenges
Some of our students at CJSC start their schooling in our Intensive English Centre. Some have limited schooling and our classrooms may be their first opportunities to have an education. Our dedicated staff support our students in their transition from the Intensive English Centre (IEC) into mainstream, where they begin their Year 11 and 12 studies.
When I first started at CJSC in 2016 I sought to understand more about how the IEC worked and how I could best serve the students in my role as VET Coordinator. In just three years, through working with Belinda and the student services IEC and mainstream teams, we have trialled several successful models to ensure our students next transition into employment or further training is suitably supported. We have done this through dedicated Foundation English and workplace learning classes, building links with written and spoken communication in both a school and work environment.
The health industry, specifically aged care, has always been a strong career choice for some of our IEC graduates and we have worked hard to bridge the gap for our English as Second Language or Dialect, or EAL/D students, whose written and spoken English is still developing. Opportunities for our students to gain places in funded courses can be competitive and this has often meant these students have to wait until they complete Year 12 before can begin their vocational training.
Partnership with North Metro
In 2019 we entered into a partnership with North Metro TAFE establishing a dedicated EAL/D class of CJSC students to begin their VET delivered to secondary students training whilst also completing their courses at CJSC.
All 13 students graduated in June 2020 amidst the unpredictable early days of Covid interruptions to education and face to face classes.
These students have recently completed Yr 12 and this cohort meets again on Thursday to begin their higher studies in the health industry, through our new partnership with Amana Living.
Going Beyond the Campus
What makes both of these models work is the CJSC approach to supporting students, not only in the classroom but also through community work placements that allow our students to apply their skills through authentic learning opportunities. We aim to develop further partnerships such as these.
Every single staff member is invested in these students
Our students are supported by our team of teachers, trainers, workplace learning coordinator, IEC teachers and education assistants, our student services team, Deputy Principals and our remarkable Principal, Dr Karen Read.
They are our future and we are incredibly proud of our programs, team approach and most importantly our students who value education as a privilege.
You will not find a more dedicated school community and students with a phenomenal work ethic and will to succeed.
Our current partnerships include;
Garden City Plastics,
Black Swan State Theatre
WA Youth Theatre Company
Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation, and
the Cities of Bassendean and Stirling.
We hope to work with you in 2021, building strong working relationships in support of our future workforce.
Thanks Vanessa and staff at Cyril Jackson. Our hearts burst with appreciation for the wonderful work you are all doing. As one student spoke I choked up and reached for a tissue, I glanced around to see EVERYONE at our table was in the same boat!!
At the end of the morning there were hugs and congratulations all round.
Vanessa has already offered to support teachers at Balcatta SHS by sharing details of how CJ has generated such a great environment for its students. I am sure she would be happy to pass on her wisdom to others.
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