These days, many students are strongly encouraged to stay at school through to Year 12 often with the aim of progressing on to University. This aspiration is drummed into students by schools, career teachers, family and, in many ways, other students.
Then, in December every year, on receipt of ATAR scores their ambitions and short term goals are challenged because students either don’t achieve the score required to qualify for their ‘dream’ uni course or they receive better than expected scores and are then channelled into a uni course that may not ultimately lead to employment.
As we know today, and given the damning statistics in relation to employment opportunities after graduation for some University degree pathways, other options make more sense – there are many more viable and attractive alternatives.
Apprenticeship and Traineeship pathways often align an individual’s aspirations with training and employment then lead onto further qualifications as a progressive pathway. Equally important, these pathways are developed by industry so the knowledge and skills acquired are transferable and real. For example, start an apprenticeship in a fabrication trade or as a heavy vehicle mechanic, and if you have a genuine desire to head off to university after you have gained a qualification, (and much desired work experience), you can then progress onto options like a degree in engineering.
Yes, there is a genuine higher education opportunity for those who achieve and see University as their next step, but in today’s reality of what is deemed a ‘successful outcome’, gaining a Uni place, is not always the meal ticket to success. There are different paths to travel.
As a community we should never measure success in terms of financial rewards but it’s fair to say tradespeople and many undertaking pathways via Apprenticeship or Traineeships are doing very nicely. Fully employed and highly trained, with transferable skills and the opportunity to go on to start their own businesses. You may not need a lawyer or engineer in the next few years but you will certainly need someone to work on your car, build the roads you drive on or the rail that you travel on or repair a leak or electrical fault where you live.
Apprenticeships and traineeships can take you anywhere.