The vocational education and training (VET) sector must work to demystify VET pathways and better inform and support young early school leavers if it wants to engage them, according to new research released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).
The report Engaging young early school leavers in vocational training has found that VET has a critical role to play in improving employment opportunities for this vulnerable group by working to engage them more effectively at three key periods during the training lifecycle.
“Young early school leavers are at a greater risk of experiencing disadvantage in multiple areas of their lives than those students who complete year 12,” said Dr Craig Fowler, Managing Director, NCVER.
“For many, the VET sector can be confusing and difficult to navigate.”
The research sought to determine ways in which training providers, career advisers and community youth organisations could work together to maximise the successful entry into and engagement with VET for young early school leavers by focusing on three critical time periods – pre-enrolment, enrolment and the training period itself.
“At the pre-enrolment stage, information is vital,” Dr Fowler said.
“Training providers and support services need to demystify the VET sector and raise awareness about what VET is and what it can offer.
“When it comes to enrolment, the complexity of the process and of VET funding and subsidy structures can be overwhelming. It is critical this group have access to relevant information around course choices and financial support that is easy to understand.”
The research also found that once training has commenced, young early school leavers are more likely to stay engaged if offered multiple forms of support, such as scheduling timetables around public transport availability and assistance with developing their language, literacy, numeracy or learning skills.
“Most importantly, it’s crucial these improvements are implemented through broader VET sector partnerships,” Dr Fowler said.
“The training sector cannot effect the required changes alone.”
The report Engaging young early school leavers in vocational training is available from www.ncver.edu.au/publications.
This work has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.