The ways in which our senior secondary schooling system supports students to make informed decisions about how best to achieve their further study and work goals are critical. They have a significant impact on the contribution that young people will make to Australia as they grow into informed, engaged citizens.
Given the amount of work being undertaken on and around issues that relate to senior secondary pathways and the future of work, the panel intends to posit two provocative propositions to guide this discussion paper:
- too many young people are making poorly informed post-school choices (through no fault of their own) that do not align with their skills, interests, and career aspirations; that involve unnecessary cost and time; and which may align poorly with Australia’s future workforce needs; and
- traditional ways of thinking about pathways need to be disrupted, with young people’s choices no longer being unnecessarily constrained by the institutional perceptions of what they can and should do after school, and the certification that they require.
Recent research highlights the increasingly complex and dynamic working world young people will need to navigate. Understanding the link between the changing nature of work, the learning pathways available within schooling and the need to equip young people with skills for a range of pathways is essential if we are to give them the opportunity to succeed – not in the workforce as it was when their parents finished school, not as it is now, but as it will be in the future.
This discussion paper is designed to stimulate debate. It does not claim to cover the full range of issues impacting on senior secondary pathways. A complementary background paper has also been prepared. It provides a deeper dive into many of the issues, based on supporting evidence and research.