The NSW HSC enrolment patterns for the past 10 years have indicated that students are choosing subjects in the HSC that may be related to their career aspirations. There has been a decline in subjects like Maths, Sciences, Geography and Languages. Students are seeing the benefits in doing subjects that they can relate to and subjects that they see are linked to their future careers.

Vocational education subjects in schools are increasingly popular. From a HSC cohort of about 70,000 students (2012) approximately 20,000 students chose at least one VET subject in their pattern of study. Subjects like Hospitality, Construction and Metal Engineering are increasingly popular. The establishment of Trade Training schools in NSW are providing students with some very good career-related options. These Trade Training Centres are providing students with school based apprenticeships whilst still offering them the safety net of completing their HSC. Did I mention they get paid as well?

Research that I have conducted over many years has shown clearly that employers prefer VET in School graduates simply because they are job-ready. It’s not only students who want to leave school and get a job that are doing VET subjects, but academic students aiming to matriculate to university are also finding worthwhile benefits in studying a VET subject. 

Students are finding that the work-placement component of VET in School subjects are giving them an insight into industry and providing them with valuable work experience. Something that many schools are not providing these days owing to insurance issues or saturation of the work experience market (owing to competition from TAFE and university students). It’s also an opportunity to apply theory to practical workplace situations.

The article from Amy McNeilage may be of interest to you: http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/geography-loses-as-hsc-students-map-their-futures-20131004-2uzpq.html

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