When it comes to choosing post-school study, expectations and advice can be divided.
For students at Sydney Catholic Schools the choice of university or Vocational Education and Training (VET) is theirs, and begins with them understanding how they learn best.
Sydney Catholic Schools’ Director of Teaching and Learning, Genevieve Moss, said the strong foundations in literacy, numeracy and critical thinking that students gain through their education at a Sydney Catholic school help students to discern the right study options for them.
Ms Moss said reports showed that in 2018, only 26 per cent of NSW high school graduates used an ATAR to access their next stage of study. Careers advisors are part of the decision-making process and talk students through the best way for them to reach their chosen career path, noting prerequisites for university courses and where qualifications may intersect. They also keep an eye on the emerging trend for micro-credentials, where students can tailor their degree at a more detailed level by choosing sections of units within a course.
“Ultimately it will be part and parcel of how students engage with universities,” Ms Moss said. “Our goal is to support our students to understand how they learn best.”
“One pathway is not more important than the other. Whether it is university, vocational education or a combination of the two, it comes back to the student – where their needs, interests, and skills are. There are many opportunities for people who follow their passion and their skills. At Sydney Catholic Schools we want to make sure our students have maximised their opportunities and potential in order to have that choice either way.”
SCS has trade training centres – at LaSalle Catholic College Bankstown, Good Samaritan Catholic College Hinchinbrook and Champagnat Catholic College Pagewood – and a dedicated vocational college for students in Years 11 and 12 to pursue qualifications for industries including health, hospitality, construction, business, tourism and electrotechnology.
Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College Burwood allows students in Years 11 to 12 to complete the Higher School Certificate and three Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications at the same time. The unique college opened in 2010 after a consortium of 11 Catholic schools in Sydney’s inner west pooled government funding to help build it. It has been recognised as an example of best practice in the independent review of the federal government’s Trade Training Centres in Schools program, and by three national trade training awards.
Sydney Catholic Schools’ Head of Vocational Education Christine Shakya said in a recent Mitchell Institute report about 60 per cent of domestic undergraduate university offers were reported as non-ATAR or non-Year 12, showing a diversity of pathways to higher education. Twelve per cent of students had done a VET qualification first, and many university students had opted for TAFE afterwards to get the practical skills needed for a job.
“It’s important for young people to choose courses that meet their preferred learning style so that they are equipped with relevant work skills as well as general skills such as communication, problem solving, team work, initiative, and creativity,” she said.
“It’s now predicted that young people will have up to 17 different jobs across five different careers so there are not just two choices, but many pathways that will vary according to each individual’s career journey.”
***Click here to learn more about the Vocational Education options available at Sydney Catholic Schools***