Preparing Students for Life

One of the most important functions of schooling is to equip individuals for adult life. A young person’s choices about what to do with their time after school may begin to be formed from a very early age. The choices and resources available to young people can vary based on geographic location, cultural influences, social and economic resources, education level attained and additional experience, just to name a few.

Around 51% of young people identify their teachers as having an influence on their post school planning1. With this privilege and responsibility in mind, it’s important for teachers to have the resources and confidence to have meaningful conversations with young people about their ideas and hopes for the future.

Young people continue to be among the most disadvantaged in the labour market. Youth unemployment (ages 15-24) continues to remain around double that of the general population2 and in some parts of the country it is even higher. Protracted unemployment can impact or lead to a variety of social problems including low self-esteem, reduced social connections, economic hardship and housing problems which all add further barriers to an individual’s future prospects of employment. Supporting students to make smooth transitions through school and on to further education or employment benefits not only them as individuals but has positive implications for the broader community.

The workforce our young people are preparing for is in a state of transition as new jobs emerge and traditional jobs disappear due to rapid changes in technology. In order to thrive in the workplace of the future our young people need a broad set of skills to be able to adapt and take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. A clear understanding of their personal strengths, interests and values and a willingness to engage in ongoing learning will be important assets as they move forward.

There is some debate about the best age to commence careers education in schools. Many Australian schools deliver core careers education in Years 9 or 10 with a focus on future career and education pathways. However, providing careers education in primary school can provide students with a broader view of career options available to them at a time when their career aspirations are forming3. Either way, helping students to engage with career aspirations and future planning is an important function of an education that equips young people for adult life.

To help schools provide students with useful and relevant careers education, Stride has developed the STEPs program which provides useful tools, resources, tips and guides. Designed for primary, secondary or post-secondary students, the STEPs program can provide a useful way for educators to connect with students and promote thinking that will remain meaningful to the young person throughout their life. For more information about the STEPs program please visit www.whitelion.asn.au/school-programs.

Karen Holmes – Stride Manager