8 December 2017
Inquiry into career advice activities in Victorian schools
Submission by the Victorian Parents Council
The Victorian Parents Council (VPC) is the Victorian recognised peak parent organisation representing the interests of parents with children in non-government schools and parent population more generally. These interests extend down to early childhood development and learning, and up to post-school transitions.
We are pleased to have the opportunity to make this submission and offer the following commentary:
The relationship between school career advice and youth employment outcomes:
More research is required to establish/quantify the effectiveness of existing standardised careers advisory programs on youth employment outcomes.
Research could examine the following:
- Link between workforce participation and the recommended tertiary/relevant course completed.
- Long term effect on career pathway through longitudinal studies that captures progress at 10, 20 and 30 years. This could also include a mental and physical health assessment.
- Analysis of course information provided by institutions to schools/careers advisers and employment outcomes of students completing courses.
How well current career advice programs meet the needs of school leavers:
Attention to career opportunities and youth employment should be part of mandatory curriculum and updated regularly for its relevance in this fast changing world. More focus on additional soft-skills development. Again, research should show how effective certain careers advice programs are.
Career Practitioners should be part of school staff meetings and feedback on issues arising and updating teachers and staff once or twice a year on changes and relevant career advising related matters.
Challenges faced by school career advisors:
There are many challenges. Insufficient time and too few career advisers per number of students who are often underqualified or unqualified to understand the skillset and qualities that students need to develop to enter the workforce. Funding issues that limit investment in careers programs e.g. relevant industry speakers. As careers programs are not a mandatory aspect of the curriculum, and are subject to each school’s discretion, there is no consistency in the delivery of meaningful careers advice programs within school and between schools.
Specific career advice needs of young people in regional Victoria and how to address them:
Regional Victorian schools face similar and often have less resources available than their city counterparts. This is further compounded by fewer work experience opportunities and consequently fewer available jobs within these areas.
Victorian Parents Council would like to share with you some parent feed-back remarks.
Parents have said:
- Careers advisors do not have enough time for their child
- Careers advisors are not always knowledgeable and often will just hand out flyers/booklets prepared by universities
- Careers advisers are not promoting information evenings held at universities, only the big dates such as
- open days are shared with the school population
- Careers advisors are not always qualified to do that job in schools
- Careers advisors are under resourced
- Careers advise programs are not mandatory
- Careers advice programs should be a mandatory component of Australian Curriculum from year 7-12
- Not enough information is available for ‘students with learning disabilities’ and transition into tertiary
Victorian Parents Council would like to share with you some suggestions about Careers advisors/ practitioners moving forward in gaining better outcomes in youth employment.
Career advisors/practitioners need:
- Appropriate qualifications that require official registration and annual re-registration that requires completion of PD
- Increase in remuneration to ensure that quality in career advisor and in careers advice
- Regular/mandatory PD (possibly part of registration process)
- Membership with ‘peak bodies’
- Sufficient funding for resources and to develop comprehensive careers programs that incorporate relevant guest speakers
- To consider introducing a careers program into the curriculum from year 7 (possibly Humanities). This could take the form of mock job interviews involving staff, teachers and perhaps parent volunteers.
- Guidelines on Careers Practitioner student ratio so that all students are able to be assisted with careers advice.
- To implement careers advising programs that are relevant and quality controlled.
- To tailor careers advice to the individual so students undertaking courses develop skills suitable to their abilities and to maximise future employability.
- Analyse usefulness of existing courses available to students and to more accurately predict potential employment outcomes based on past data.
- Analyse the effectiveness of school career advice program outcomes should be monitored through research/data collection to measure effectiveness following implementation.
Overall, the Victorian Parent’s Council believes that there is a need for greater involvement of all stakeholders: parents, students, career advisors and post school/tertiary institutions to assess the effectiveness of course information delivery and to improve Victorian students’ employment outcomes through the important role of careers advisor in schools. Ultimately, careers’ advice needs to cater for the changing job trends through sound and systematic research, appropriate qualification and registration of careers advisors, sufficient funding of programs and incorporation into the school curriculum.
With kind regards,
Victorian Parents Council Inc.