Curriculum overhaul to drive VET enrolments

The NSW government will encourage more high school students to pursue future education through TAFE through a new program to embed trade education in senior secondary schooling.

The move comes as part of an overhaul of the curriculum in NSW, with an interim review by Professor Geoff Masters recommending that students have a greater focus on maths, English and science. NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian endorsed the review’s recommendations.

“The NSW Government strongly supports a back to basics approach,” said Berejiklian.

The focus of the trade curriculum delivered while students are still in high school will be on preparing for the skills required of a future workforce.

“This announcement will allow school leavers to build skills across emerging industries such as advanced manufacturing, technology and engineering,” said Berejiklian.

“We want universities and VET to be thought of in the same sentence for young people looking to prepare themselves for the high value jobs of the future.”

The program will also work across sectors, encouraging collaboration between universities, schools, industries, and vocational education providers. Subjects that may enable students to qualify for advanced entries to TAFE include mathematics, engineering studies, industrial technology, and software design and development.

According to Geoff Lee, Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, by better matching students’ secondary studies to courses in TAFE, there will be a greater retention of students in pathways that lead to a career.

“We are incentivising high-achieving HSC students into our vocational education sector by giving them a head-start at TAFE NSW,” said Lee.

“We will do this by mapping HSC units to vocational competencies and allowing eligible students to proceed straight to assessments.

“Educational research identifies that some students are feeling pressured to go to university, regardless of whether it’s the best option for their future careers.”

On October 24, the South Australian government also announced that the it would implement its “VET for School Students Policy”.

The policy will shift school courses so that they match industry needs, with industry consulted on the design of “Flexible Industry Pathways” such as apprenticeships and traineeships for students in their final year of study.

“It is vital that our schooling sector is preparing students to take advantage of emerging industries, and we know that growing areas such as defence, space, cyber security and health all require employees with vocational qualifications,” said South Australian Education Minister, John Gardner.