WA Labor to embark on major expansion of training in schools

Posted on February 16, 2021
  • $95 million of new initiatives to enhance vocational education and training (VET) in high schools
  • Professional development for career guidance leaders in 70 WA schools to help students career pathways
  • New programs for Year 8 and 9 students to provide earlier exposure to VET career options
  • Industry placements for TAFE lecturers and school teachers for professional development
  • New support scheme to keep vulnerable VET students engaged and more information for parents

Vocational education and training (VET) in WA schools will undergo a major $95 million expansion under a re-elected McGowan Labor Government – with a range of new initiatives to ensure every student has a pathway to a good job.

The plan includes new initiatives to educate students about non-university pathways, provide teachers with new professional development opportunities, support vulnerable students and provide more information for parents.

This will include a targeted trial placing qualified career practitioners in 70 government schools to lead career development and be the key conduit between schools and industry.

The VET practitioners will form meaningful relationships with key industries to lead career development for students and facilitate engagement with industry to support pathways into STEM and trades.

A re-elected McGowan Government will also work to ensure Western Australian students get earlier exposure to the career options VET pathways offer.

Currently, students start VET in Years 11 and 12, after subject selections have been made. A new Year 9 ‘taster’ program will give students access to VET career options earlier through short courses at TAFE colleges.

Early engagement in VET will be further boosted with a new toolkit for Year 8 and 9 students to provide students with a real insight into the world of work.

These measures will ensure students are given a genuine understanding of all education pathways well before they need to make these important decisions.

TAFE lecturers and VET teachers will also be supported to undertake industry placements to be at the forefront of innovation and quality education, allowing them to upskill and maintain industry qualifications and skills.

A new financial support scheme will also be established to assist vulnerable students susceptible to not completing their school based training or apprenticeship.The scheme will fund items such as personal protective equipment, travel and mentoring – to help students stay engaged and on the pathway to a good job.

Recognising that parents or guardians are still the most significant influencers of career decisions, a new program of career information events will be developed to give them the information they need about available options.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“University isn’t the only pathway to a good job, and it’s not the best choice for everyone.

“There are so many excellent VET career options and these new measures will make sure students understand all their options and teachers have the skills to help them succeed.

“My government has worked hard to give VET and TAFE the support and attention it deserves and these additional initiatives will continue that important work.

“We are creating stronger links between schools, TAFEs and industry – to give students real insight into the well-paid jobs available through these pathways.

“Our new programs for Year 8 and 9 students will make sure they understand the options they have well before they need to start making decisions about their future careers.

“Importantly, those VET students who are vulnerable to not completing their studies will get special support to help them stay the course and reach their career goals.

“School teachers and TAFE lecturers will be supported to take up professional development opportunities with industry – making sure they are at the forefront of trends to give their students the best possible guidance on their career options.

“We know parents and guardians are still the biggest influence on which pathways students pursue. Our new program of career information events will make sure they and their children can understand all the great opportunities on offer.”

Other McGowan Labor Government training initiatives:

  • The McGowan Government has made VET and TAFE major priorities over its first term. The highly successful Lower Fees, Local Skills has slashed fees by up to 72 per cent for 180 courses – delivering a 20 per cent increase in enrolments.
  • Under the WA Recovery Plan, the McGowan Government invested over $229 million in TAFE and training – including the largest TAFE capital works program in WA history – to create a pipeline of skilled workers to help with WA’s economic recovery.
  • The McGowan Government has also allocated $282 million to extend the ‘Lower Fees, Local Skills’ program for another four years, so prospective and current students in priority study areas will benefit from savings on course fees while gaining skills in areas that lead to quality jobs. 
  • $4.8 million for the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive, providing financial support to employers who take on a displaced apprentice or trainee
  • $8.5 million for $20,000 incentives for defence manufacturing industry employers to train apprentices in key trades
  • A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will invest $5.2 million to get 200 additional mature aged apprentices into quality training