The Australian Government has announced it will support a further 12 P-TECH schools across Australia as it continues to expand its innovation and science agenda. Skilling Australia Foundation has been contracted by the Australian Government to establish the 12 new pilot sites in addition to the Geelong and Ballarat sites.
• Globalisation, economic reforms and technological improvements are changing the nature of work and the types of jobs that will be available in the future – and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills will play a major role.
• In order to have young people entering the labour market with the capability to meet the growing demand for workers with STEM skills, we need to increase the number of students undertaking STEM studies in senior secondary school, and then in post-secondary education and training.
• Partnerships between schools and industry provide opportunities for students to engage with the world of work and better understand the relevance of their learning to jobs and post-school pathways. The STEM focused P-TECH styled pilot will test and adapt key elements of this innovative US approach to education-industry collaboration in the Australian context.
What are the key elements of the P-TECH model?
• At its core, the P-TECH model is about collaboration – a partnership between education, industry and community – but it is a partnership with a clear purpose:
• To provide an industry supported pathway for young people to achieve a qualification that strengthens their employment prospects.
To achieve this goal requires the education, industry and community sectors to work together to put in place the key elements that make up the P-TECH model, including:
Course design includes the way existing Australian Curriculum and Australian Qualification Framework recognised education and training is sequenced (or ordered) to achieve the best outcomes for students, as well as innovative approaches to the way learning is delivered.
Innovative approaches to learning.
Partnerships between schools and industry can deliver learning experiences that would not be possible if schools, or industry, acted in isolation. Working together, schools and industry can provide opportunities for students to engage with the world of work and better understand the relevance of their learning to jobs and post-school pathways.
Industry mentoring and support.
The mentor relationship between industry personnel provides continuity of support for students to achieve a post-school qualification. The mentor relationship will ensure the students’ learning stays on track and provides opportunities for guidance to help young people make informed decisions regarding their education, training and employment options.
A post-school qualification.
In Australia, it is likely that the achievement of a diploma, advanced diploma or associate degree will involve schools partnering with other education providers (TAFEs/RTOs or universities) to deliver elements to the P-TECH learning programme (either on-site or off-site).
Links to employment.
Collaboration between the education and industry sectors strengthens the connection between student learning and the skills that employers need. It improves young people’s prospects of employment, including opportunities for employment with industry partners.
What will the P-TECH pilot mean for students?
• The P-TECH model will offer students studying for their Senior Secondary Certificate an industry supported pathway to a STEM related diploma, advanced diploma or associate degree. Students then have the option to continue their study at the tertiary level or pursue employment in a STEM related field, including job opportunities with the school’s industry partners.
• Students participating in the P-TECH pilot will study regular high school subjects such as English, science, and mathematics, while also undertaking an advanced STEM learning programme with support from the school’s industry partners. The P-TECH learning programme will match each student with an industry mentor for the duration of the programme and provide opportunities for students to connect their learning to real life applications.
• While detail about the pilot’s implementation will be determined by local education, industry and community partners to suit local circumstances, the learning programme will be designed to build the technical and non-technical skills students will need to succeed in the increasingly rigorous later years of their study.
How is the P-TECH model different?
• The P-TECH pilot will draw on many elements that exist in schools today, such as mentoring, workplace visits and industry and school collaboration. However, what is different about the P-TECH model is the way it brings all of these elements together. The focus on a long-term partnership between educators, employers and community, the combination of elements that make up the model and the sequencing of student learning is what makes it unique.
• Senior secondary students involved in the P-TECH pilot will be on a pathway to achieve two qualifications. Firstly, their Senior Secondary Certificate, which will feature technical and vocational education components. Students will then have the option to continue in the P-TECH learning programme and achieve a STEM related diploma, advanced diploma or associate degree.
• The P-TECH model enlists the support and expertise of industry to help prepare students for the world beyond school at a time in their lives when they are making decisions that will influence their career path.
• The support and opportunities provided through the P-TECH model are particularly important for those young people living in communities with high youth unemployment and where the labour market is shifting to a modern knowledge and skills-based economy.
• Collaboration between the education and industry sectors strengthens the connection between student learning and the skills that employers need. In addition, the relationships students develop with their mentors and the school’s industry partners improve their prospects when employment opportunities are available with a partner organisation, or within the partners’ broader business networks.
What is the role of industry?
• Industry wants to contribute to the learning and development of young people and ensure that they are entering the labour market with the skills they need to succeed at work. The P-TECH model provides a framework for effective cross-sector collaboration and enables industry to be actively involved in supporting young people to gain the skills and understandings that will strengthen their prospects for employment.
• The support industry provides could include, but is not limited to: working with teachers to align classroom learning to the skills employers need; providing opportunities for hands on workplace learning; supporting authentic project-based learning either in the workplace or at school and offering mentored support for students.
The Australian Government has engaged the Skilling Australia Foundation to assist local stakeholders as they work together to implement P-TECH styled learning programmes in Geelong and Ballarat.
For more information about P-TECH in Australia, please contact:
Joanne Gedge, General Manager, on firstname.lastname@example.org or call T: 1300 096 120
For more information about P-TECH in Australia, visit:
For more information about how the P-TECH model operates, visit www.ptech.org.au
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