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Pathways to further education and employment

The Student Pathways website is now live. On the website, students can:

  • join the World of Work Challenge to explore different careers
  • connect with employers to find World of Work Challenge opportunities, work experience, and school-based apprenticeships and traineeships
  • build an online CV that can be shared with employers
  • explore career pathways in growing industries across SA.

The VET for school students policy (PDF 1.6MB), released in term 4, 2019, sets out the government’s strategic direction and plans for reforming how vocational education and training (VET) is delivered in schools. It aims to clearly articulate pathways to employment, embed career education in school and provide for quality VET, designed with industry, to better prepare students for the world of work.

The policy includes a number of reforms to support students to transition from secondary school to meaningful employment or further education.

We have co-designed the initiatives within the policy with industry to prepare students for the realities of the workplace and provide a pipeline of skilled workers for South Australian employers.

The case for change

In a rapidly changing world, transition from school to work has become more complex and challenging for young people.

  • Youth unemployment currently sits at 14.2% - around 30,500 young people. COVID-19 has impacted the number and types of jobs available and has created uncertainty for the future world of work.
  • Only 67% of students transition from school to employment or further education.
  • Young people tell us they have a better understanding of university pathways than VET pathways, apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • Employers and industry tell us that students need a range of employability skills and competencies in addition to technical knowledge, to better prepare them for the workplace.
  • The average transition time from education to full-time work is 4.7 years, compared to 1 year in 1986. Young people say this is due to not having enough work experience, lack of appropriate education, lack of career management skills and a lack of available jobs.

The VET for school students policy (PDF 1.6MB) aims to address these issues and give young people the best chance for a successful future.

Engaging with industry

The VET for school students policy brings industry and schools together to clearly articulate pathways through secondary school to employment, enhance career education and improve outcomes for students and employers. By linking with industry, students will be better prepared for the workforce with the skills and knowledge needed by South Australian employers.

Engaging with industry is critical to high quality career education. Schools are being supported to ensure students have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. This includes more opportunities for work experience and workplace visits, participating in industry challenges or competitions, attending career expos and events and undertaking work-related projects.

We have also worked with industry to map out pathways through secondary school to employment and support more students into school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.

Better career education

The policy and the career education strategy (PDF 1.15MB) aim to enhance career education in schools to help students to:

  • understand themselves and reflect on their ambitions, interests, strengths and abilities
  • build an understanding about career options, pathways, the labour market and employment in a wide range of industries and occupations
  • build connections between these concepts that allow them to plan and make decisions about their learning and work options.

To do this, we are supporting schools to deliver quality career education through:

  • supporting delivery of career education curriculum
  • enabling quality career counselling and planning and establishing a new Professional Career Service 
  • launching a career skills exploration game for year 7 and 8 students 
  • introducing a Career Action Plan for each student, starting in year 7 
  • introducing a new digital career diagnostic tool for all year 9 students 
  • bringing schools and industry together to provide more opportunities for students to get exposure to industry and workplaces through industry immersion activities
  • building on the Student Pathways website with new features and improved career and labour market information. 

Find out more about these initiatives in the Career Education Strategy (PDF 1.15MB).  

Schools have been provided with resources to support them to deliver effective career education and guidance for their students throughout secondary school.

Pathways to employment

We are taking the guess work out of career education and decision making by clearly articulating pathways to employment in key growth industries in South Australia. These pathways map out a student’s journey through secondary school to employment through career education, industry immersion, school-based apprenticeships and traineeships and formal qualifications.

The pathways have been designed in partnership with industry to identify qualifications appropriate for school students and that contain the skills, knowledge and experience valued by employers. They provide an industry-endorsed pathway to employment, better preparing young people for real-world jobs, and providing a pipeline of young skilled workers for South Australia’s growing industry sectors.

Depending on the needs of employers, the pathways include VET qualifications at Certificate II and III level that industry considers suitable for school students. They also include enterprise and employability skills training delivered through SACE, and any specific industry requirements linked to the pathway. Importantly, the pathways include compulsory SACE subjects and contextualised delivery of other school subjects so that students can complete both a VET qualification and their SACE concurrently.

Students will be supported to identify an appropriate pathway suited to their interests and strengths through quality career education.

The pathways are reviewed annually to ensure they remain relevant to students and industry and lead to meaningful employment. The pathways include:

Review of VET for school students courses

Vocational education and training in schools needs to be suitable for students and lead to meaningful employment.

Flexible Industry Pathways, skills clusters and pre-vocational qualifications are reviewed every year. To give us feedback email education.pathways@sa.gov.au.

Stackable VET

VET courses outside the Flexible Industry Pathway will be available to school students, known as Stackable VET. These aim to provide pre-vocational skills, work preparedness and the opportunity to try out different areas before committing to a qualification.

Transition programs for students with disability from school to work

We’re supporting students with disability to develop skills for pathways after school. This helps them transition from school to employment, further education or training.

Students will: 

  • connect with employers
  • gain work and industry experience 
  • have recognition of learning to complete the SACE
  • be supported to access School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) 
  • transition to a pathway of employment, further education or training. 

Transition programs are delivered in north, south and central locations 1 day a week.  

These programs are for students in their last year of school who are: 

  • seeking employment, further education or training 
  • enrolled and going to school with at least 70% attendance 
  • receiving National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support 
  • travelling independently or have the capacity to travel independently 
  • on track for SACE completion.

Schools will support eligible students to join these transition programs. Email education.transitionprograms@sa.gov.au for more information.  

Projects to further support students

The student pathways website offers tools to support students on their career pathway including:

  • the 100-hour World of Work (WOW) Challenge to encourage students to discover different careers by participating in self-led career exploration activities posted by employers and industry
  • an online portal to connect students with work experience, school-based apprenticeships and traineeships and WOW Challenge opportunities
  • a CV builder for students to record their world of work experiences, generating a CV that can be shared with employers.
  • functionality for students to explore pathways and career options in key growth industries.

In the coming months, an online community will also be available for students studying VET to share their experiences, build a sense of community and support each other in the achievement of their career goals.

Improving the quality of VET in schools

To ensure quality VET delivery for school students, we are establishing a list of registered training organisations (RTOs) approved to deliver VET courses within a FIP, Stackable VET or contract of training for school students.

The department is working closely with RTOs to support them to provide quality training delivery to school students. This work will help schools to make informed decisions about training delivery partners that suit their students and local industry and community need.

Further Education and Pathways

Phone: 8226 0284
Email: Education.Pathways [at] sa.gov.au