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Background TSF / ACER Study (Mar 2005) What do students think of work? Years 8 and 9 LFL students • 1/3 at risk by planning less education than is needed for their preferred job • 34.5% misunderstanding the pathways to world of work TSF / ACER Study (Sept 2005) What do students know about work? Years 10, 11 and 12 LFL students
What do students know about work? • Examined educational and occupational plans and aspirations of Yrs 10, 11, and 12 LfL students • Data came from 3018 responses to a self-completed mailed questionnaire representing a response rate of around 75% • Addressed the following questions • What are the educational and occupational plans and aspirations of LfL students? • What factors shape those plans? • How accurate are the understandings that the students bring to their plans?
What do students know about work? What are their plans? • most want a professional level job • very few want low-skilled jobs • more girls than boys would like a professional job • more boys than girls would like a trade-level job • around 80% of students expect to get the job they would most like at age 25 • very few expect to be unemployed. More students planned for higher level jobs than were available and fewer students applied for lower level jobs than were available.
What do students know about work? Factors that shaped plans and aspirations • Gender, interests and perceived ability • Seek jobs that they expect to like and which match their perceived ability • While they have a reasonably sophisticated understanding of the types and levels of jobs available –’contents of the world of work’ -- they experience problems in two main areas • They do not have either a current or realistic awareness of the current job market and the availability of specific jobs • They do not have an accurate appreciation of the levels of education and / or training needed for specific jobs.
Group Activity One - Definitions What do we understand by…? • School-based VET • Workplace Learning • TAFE study • School-based Work Experience • Paid work (part-time / casual) …Match the definitions on your table
Definitions - Answers School-based Vocational Education & Training (VET) Often delivered as an option in the mainstream curriculum, these programs offer students practical learning, introduce them to the world of work and provide employability skills. Having these programs in the senior secondary curriculum means schools can cater for all students, those at risk of not staying on as well as those seeking university entrance. Over 185,000 Australian students, or about 44 % of all senior secondary school students, are participating in these programs. Workplace Learning These programs are designed to provide students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in an industry relevant to their interests. They are often of relatively long duration, and may lead to a qualification or assessment that can continue toward a position.
Definitions - Answers Technical and Further Education (TAFE) A network of national training providers that provide industry-relevant skills designed to help students get into the workplace faster, upgrade their existing skills or prepare them for further study. School-based Work Experience These programs are incorporated into the study of students usually in Year 10 or Year 11 and offer a taste of the world of work by encouraging one or two-week placements in a workplace. Students generally undertake minor tasks under supervision. Paid work This represents formal engagement with the world of work, and involves the student undertaking a varied number of hours on a salary determined by their employer.
Group Activity Two - Gender Which, if any, of these experiences are likely to demonstrate greater participation by girls than boys over Years 10, 11 and 12 as a whole? Discuss and make your selection…
Gender - Answers Females consistently demonstrate greater levels of participation than males on the three indicators of engagement with work, namely: - Workplace Learning - Work Experience - Paid work This is in comparison to the equal participation of males and females in vocational learning (e.g. VET study and TAFE)
Group Activity Three – Understanding Work Finally, which of these experiences do you think would be the most beneficial for students in terms of helping them develop greater understanding of their career options and the world of work? …Prioritise these experiences from ‘most beneficial’ (1) to ‘least beneficial’ (2)
What do students know about work? It has been claimed in the literature that: Students undertaking VET and associated workplace learning develop “a greater understanding of career options” than those who do not participate in these experiences. • Woods, D. (2005) Young People and Vocational Education and Training Options. Adelaide: National Centre for Vocational Education Research. “HSC VET graduates consider themselves to be better prepared than non-VET graduates to make an effective transition to work and study on most measures” • NSW DET (2005) Destination and Satisfaction Survey of 2004 HSC VET Students in New South Wales. Sydney: NSW Department of Education and Training.
What do students know about work? Participation in school VET • The decision to take school VET subjects appears to be associated with decisions either to pursue no post-school study or to undertake post-school vocational studies • Those who take these studies have a lower level of concordance between educational intentions and the skill requirements of their preferred jobs • These students were more likely to plan either too much or too little education • VET students more often have a mismatch plan with too little education, except at year 12.
What do students know about work? Workplace learning students • Seem to have a lower match between the skill requirements of their desired job at age 25 and their educational intentions compared with students who do not participate in workplace learning • This finding is at odds with claims that structured workplace learning leads to better career planning decisions (Woods, 2005) • Students’ involvement in workplace learning is increasingly small and high expectations probably should not be placed on this limited exposure to authentic and structured work placements.
What do students know about work? TAFE students • Planned for a lower level of study than those not in TAFE • Also had a lower level of agreement between the skill requirements of their preferred job and their intended educational goals than non-TAFE students • The difference, however, was ‘only just’ statistically significant.
What do students know about work? Work experience students • Had a weaker match between skills requirements of their preferred jobs and their intended level of education than those who did not participate in work experience • This difference is statistically significant, although it should not be interpreted to mean that work experience leads to this effect • It may be that students who are most uncertain about their plans elect for work experiences while those who have a clear idea choose not to participate.
What do students know about work? Students in paid work • Had higher educational aspirations than those who did not work on a part-time or casual basis • Part-time worker students had a slightly better match between skill requirements of their preferred jobs and their educational plans • Although the difference is only ‘marginally significant’, the fact that it is opposite to other experience-of-work variables is notable • Thus, part-time or casual paid work seems to be associated with ‘better’ career planning than does VET or short-term work experience placements.
What do students know about work? Students in paid work (cont) • Why does paid work lead to better career planning decisions? • Longer duration than work experience placements??? • Real responsibilities and obligations??? • Entrée into employment networks??? • Is it because those students who take on part-time work are the ‘achievers’ anyway (meaning that the positive findings among this group are more of a correlation of their future success than a causal factor)?
What do students know about work? Summary • Those in paid work tend to have higher educational aspirations and a slightly greater concordance between their planned education and their job preferences compared with those who are not working. - For those studying a TAFE subject at school, there is a slightly increased tendency for there to be a mismatch between educational and occupational plans, compared with those not studying a TAFE subject. • Participation in work place learning / work experience is also associated with a mismatch between educational plans and occupational preferences (although this finding needs to be treated with some caution). • Participation in VET is associated with a poorer match between educational plans and occupation preferences, with those in Years 10 and 11 planning too little education for their preferred job, and those in Year 12 planning too much.
What do students know about work? Conclusions • Possible interpretation • Students who elect not to engage in VET or workplace learning have already formed career goals and the pathways they believe will enable them to be realised • The data suggests that additional career decision making support needs to be established for students who choose VET and work experiences • The diversity of career choices further suggests that career advice needs to be targeted to individuals, rather than being of a general nature.
Thank you Thomas.Feeny@smithfamily.com.au www.smithfamily.com.au