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Career education and guidance helps students to be ready to make decisions at a succession of key transition stages at school and assists them to work towards being competent managers of their own careers in the future. Increasing awareness of career pathways helps students to see the relevance of what they are learning at school.

Career education and guidance needs to take account of the age and stage of development of students at different levels of schooling. The descriptions that follow are generalisations. Individual students will move towards greater self-reliance and self-management at different rates. Many will reach a level of independence earlier than might be expected.

Years 1-6

Students develop their awareness of themselves and of what people do in the community. They learn to make decisions, plan, and take action as a normal part of regular classroom learning and their personal lives. They begin to develop a sense of competence, of their ability to learn useful things and contribute to the world around them.

Years 7-8

Students increase their awareness of their strengths and interests, and of how they relate to others. They see themselves positively, demonstrating a hopeful picture of themselves in the future. They explore adult roles in their communities and the range of occupations that contribute to the products and services people use in their daily lives, and demonstrate optimism that they will do the same in the future. They become aware of the link between education and work and the role of lifelong learning, understanding that people’s skills are built up over time because of learning and experience. They develop transferable skills in research, goal setting, evaluating options and reaching decisions. They become aware of the style and nature of secondary schooling, and are prepared for this transition.

Most career education is part of regular classroom learning. Extracurricular, community-related and enterprise education activities will contribute to the development of career management competencies. Some schools include career education opportunities through developing the key competencies.

Years 9-10

Students build their understanding of their strengths, interests and values and start to consider how these might influence their life, learning and work choices. They are developing their confidence as learners, and articulate aspirations and dreams about their future. They understand how they relate to others and the impact their personal decisions have on their lives.

There is an increasing emphasis on understanding and personalising learning pathways at school. Students learn about senior school courses and how they relate to qualifications. They explore possible career directions, and may visit actual workplaces, without needing to make career-defining decisions. Through inquiry-learning approaches they enhance their research skills and increase their awareness of a range of future pathways. Teachers can contribute by making connections between classroom learning and students’ lives outside of and beyond school, including the world of work. Teachers can show how decisions made during schooling have the potential to influence future pathways. Pastoral care can include a future focus through learning and career planning.

Year 11

Students use their knowledge of themselves to weigh up possible pathways in the senior school and beyond. They explore and begin to articulate career aspirations linked to a range of learning opportunities. Students continue to learn about senior school courses and how they relate to qualifications. Classroom teachers help students discover how their talents relate to work, and they learn to describe and name their growing skills and abilities in conversations, plans and portfolios. They understand how to keep open a range of options while pursuing their strengths, interests and aspirations.

Learning and career planning will include setting goals for achievement in qualifications and for exploring career pathways. Career education events will raise and broaden students’ awareness of options beyond school and teachers can highlight career concepts within regular classroom learning. Students experience more of the nature and language of work and employment, understanding the names and meanings of skills so that they can relate these to self, occupations and industries. Pastoral care systems can encourage students to become aware of their transferable skills and actively monitor their career and learning planning.

Years 12-13

Students begin to visualise themselves in pathways beyond school. They understand how school qualifications relate to tertiary education and training options, and to occupations.

Learning and career planning will encourage students to maintain a range of career options; however they are gaining a broad sense of the direction that best suits their interests, talents and abilities. They understand the need to actively explore areas of interest and to identify training and education possibilities that are related to their skills and abilities. Planning will include researching actual possible pathways which reflect the student’s school achievements, aspirations, strengths, interests and values. Schools can provide opportunities for students to experience a range of occupations in industries they are interested in. They encourage students to identify, evaluate and enhance their transferable skills within the curriculum, in extracurricular activities and in their lives outside of school.

Published on: 04 Aug 2009