In its submission to a parliamentary inquiry into transition from school to work, the Department of Education and Training said employers are increasingly looking for workers with skills that can be gained from vocational education courses.
“An entrenched emphasis on academic success in traditional subjects to gain entry to university means many students are not considering employer-valued vocational education and training pathways, even when these options may better suit students’ talents and interests, and have better job outcomes,” the submission said.
Research into various trades has found that more than 20 occupations are facing a national shortage, The Australian reported. Meanwhile, apprenticeship and trainee numbers have fallen to the lowest level in a decade.
The inquiry, which has been holding hearings this week, also heard from the New South Wales Federation of Parents and Citizens Association, which called for greater incentives and opportunities for high school students to gain work experience.
“Considering the value of work experience during school years, the government should take a further step of either making work experience mandatory for all students aged between 14-16 years or at least making the offer of work experience mandatory for all schools,” it said, according to a report in The Australian.
The National Catholic Education Commission, which also made a submission to the review, outlined a number of strategies in place in Catholic schools and systems across the country that support the transition of students from school to work.