Innovative pathways and partnerships
Partnerships between schools and industry can provide opportunities for students to engage with the world of work to better understand the relevance of their learning to jobs and post-school pathways.
Case Study 5: Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) Pilot
The Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) pilot is improving pathways to STEM related tertiary qualifications through long-term partnerships between industry, schools and tertiary education providers. A key element of P-TECH is local industry engagement. Secondary students participating at P-TECH sites are being introduced to jobs where STEM skills play a major role now and in the future.
In Geelong, Newcomb Secondary College has partnered with Barwon Health, Bendigo Bank, GMHBA, Opteon Property Group and Tribal. The first cohort of P-TECH students are studying Certificate III courses in laboratory skills, information technology or business finance. Students undertake fortnightly industry visits and meet with their industry mentors to undertake real work projects.
While the P-TECH pilot is only in its early stages, 76 of the 130 students from the two original P-TECH sites have selected a STEM-related pathway in 2017.
Work-based learning is a strong feature of VET qualifications which employ a learning model suited to teaching skills in real or simulated workplaces, in close collaboration with industry and employers.89 As well as work-based learning pathways such as Australian School-Based Apprenticeships and other VET qualifications undertaken by secondary school students, alternative approaches are being piloted across the country to expose students to careers in STEM related occupations and the skills they will need. One such approach is the Australian Government’s P-TECH Pilot with schools and industry working closely.
89 Siekmann, G & Korbel, P, 2016, Defining ‘STEM’skills: review and synthesis of the literature- Support Document 1, NCVER, Adelaide. p. 51