Thursday, 06 August 2015 15:58

Second Victorian school chosen for student ‘job-ready’ program Featured

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Second Victorian school chosen for student ‘job-ready’ program Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net/images

Ballarat’s Federation College has been chosen as the second pilot site for an IBM-supported school-industry partnership to help students enter the workforce job-ready.

The selection of the Victorian school follows the recent announcement of a pilot site at Newcomb Secondary College in Geelong.

IBM’s contribution to the government’s pilot includes online support, resources that have been developed to assist schools and businesses implement the P-TECH model, and an Impact Grant valued at $250,000 to support the introduction of P-TECH to Australia.

The federal government has committed $500,000 towards adapting and localising the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) model at Federation College in 2016.

The P-TECH styled pilot will educate students for the jobs of the future by focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, by partnering with local industry, and by providing vocational pathways.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said today the federal government is committed to trialing the innovative Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) model from 2016.

“I’m pleased we have been able to work with the state government to identify a second suitable location in Victoria.

“With support from IBM, the government is excited to expand its P-TECH styled pilot to a second pilot site in Ballarat where IBM has strong connections to the community.

“The involvement of a global company like IBM is very welcome and highlights the vital role business can play in supporting schools, and creating pathways for students to skills and jobs.

“As a school within Ballarat’s Federation University, Federation College offers a range of programs designed to provide secondary students with a pathway to vocational education and training (VET) and tertiary qualifications. It is an ideal location to pilot and adapt this innovative model of education-industry collaboration in the Australian context.”

During a recent visit to Australia, IBM International Foundation President, Stanley Litow, welcomed the Government’s P-TECH styled pilot and offered IBM’s support, which includes leading the establishment of the pilot site at Federation College.

“We thank the Australian and Victorian Governments for their leadership in launching the P-TECH program in Australia,” said Kerry Purcell, Managing Director, IBM Australia and New Zealand.

“We are delighted to support the program at Federation College in Ballarat and look forward to working with governments and education leaders on this innovative partnership.

“Most importantly, P-TECH will help address the pressing issue of preparing today’s students with the strong academic and practical skills they will need to step into tomorrow’s jobs and create a robust and growing knowledge economy here in Australia.”

Senator Birmingham said that with help from qualified industry mentors, students at Federation College will be on a pathway to achieve a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related diploma, advanced diploma or associate degree.

“STEM subjects are critical to occupations where we have skills shortages, but we must also keep in mind that these current shortages provide countless young Australians the opportunity to build a great career.”

Here’s an outline of what the P-TECH program offers:

•    P-TECH will help to address the skills shortage and enhance career and technical education outcomes in Australia

•    P-TECH is an education model already launched in the US, spanning grades 9 to 14 that brings together key elements of high school, college and career in a unique program

•     Through P-TECH, IBM works with educators in school and higher education. Within six years students graduate with a high school diploma and a no-cost associate degree in technology, along with the skills needed to pursue higher education or step into well-paying jobs

•    Students move through a personalised pathway, have access to mentorships and internships, and are first in line for jobs at IBM and other companies

•    Model is designed to embed 21st century skills that employers require with the expectation of success for all students at the forefront, emphasize STEM disciplines.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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