For Cooper Wilson, pursuing a pathway to the construction industry has always been his goal.
The Henley High School year 11 student wants to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps to become a tradesperson building South Australia’s future infrastructure.
“My grandfather was an unqualified tradesperson so I want to go that step further and get a qualification,” Cooper says.
It comes as the Department for Education repositions VET within secondary education to help students visualise and take steps towards their future careers.
Students can also participate in paid traineeships or apprenticeships as part of their Flexible Industry Pathway.
There will be focus on enterprise and employability skills training and any specific industry requirements linked to the pathway in sectors that have been identified as emerging or growth areas in partnership with the Industry Skills Council.
Looking at either carpentry or plumbing as a specialty area of study, Cooper has started a Certificate II in Construction Pathways through the school’s VET program.
Cooper is studying at one of the Flexible Industry Pathways pilot schools, ahead of the program’s full roll-out in 2022.
“It was a really easy decision. I did a construction course at Thebarton Senior College with my mates last year to try it out,” Cooper says.
“Right now we’re getting ready, researching different trades and techniques. Last week we were hands on with the tools and made some metal benches for the school.”
Not all students are as sure as Cooper is about where they see their career taking them at this stage of their schooling.
Flexible Industry Pathways begins with career education in Year 10, taking a student’s interests and turning it into a viable career path. Construction is one of 26 newly established Flexible Industry Pathways.
The Department for Education has engaged with industries about what their current and future needs are, in an effort to highlight clear pathways so school students are better equipped to meet workplace requirements.
The Flexible Industry Pathways are endorsed by industry through the Training and Skills Commission’s Industry Skills Councils as the industry’s recognised route to employment and further study.
Cooper has aspirations to work for a big construction company and is excited at the prospect of opportunities to travel with his work. By joining the construction pathway at Henley High School, Cooper can see his future mapping out ahead of him.