Enhancing Victoria's Economic Performance and Productivity submission on preparing young Victorians for work (Submission 14)

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The Discussion Paper, Enhancing Victoria’s Economic Performance and Productivity, rightly identifies disengaged youth as an area of concern, noting particular characteristics in relation to young Victorians. These characteristics indicate entrenched challenges, but also need to be located in a wider need to better prepare all young Victorians for contemporary worlds of work. This submission argues that practice and thinking about teaching and learning tends to be confined to the learning that takes places within education institutions, which often operate in isolation, and sometimes disconnected from the realities of contemporary working life. The fluidity of labour markets suggests a need to re-examine certain aspects of Victoria’s education system, and their connection to what happens post- school in equipping young Victorians with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to learn and adapt to the challenges of the contemporary labour force. Ten recommendations are proposed:
1. Adversity capital and associated soft skills need to be taught more explicitly in schools. Schools routinely promote certain graduate attributes, which invariably feature some soft skills and competencies that are taught implicitly but, arguably, more systematic and explicit efforts are needed.
2. The P2P or gig economy presents additional challenges to young people who may not know their rights, risks and responsibilities when undertaking work in the new economy. A reimagining of career education is needed.
3. Students need to be connected to worlds of work in more extensive, embedded and meaningful ways. Through these connections, young people need to be encouraged to harness the necessary soft skills and literacies, actively, throughout school and other learning contexts.
4. Non-governmental organisations are doing some important work to develop approaches that integrate support with soft skills, vocational training and work experience, aimed at highly disadvantaged groups. We need to embed opportunities for hands-on learning of these skills through meaningful and sustainable community and industry partnerships.
5. Deepen and extend the professional dialogue between teachers, school leaders and other non-teaching professional communities.
6. While schooling tends to concentrate on learning within classroom settings, there are potential benefits to taking a wider view of learning that takes place formally, informally and non-formally beyond the school gates. Schooling tends to focus on getting students to completion of Year 12 or equivalent, but arguably more attention is needed to, and aligned with, what happens after school.
7. This submission urges greater consideration of how best to align education and training to the contemporary labour market.
8. More needs to be done not only to make VET more appealing, but to support what is an often fragmented sector lacking consistent long-term policy and resources.
9. Efforts to develop 21st century skills and adversity capital may be useful to navigate contemporary seas of working life, but desirable work needs to be available at the end.
10. In recent years, there has been growing attention to the importance of evidence use in education policy and practice. More needs to be done to recognise, measure and respond to the profound challenges facing young people’s transitions into the contemporary global economy.
Original languageEnglish
TypeGovernment submission: discussion paper
Media of outputWeb
PublisherState Government of Victoria
Number of pages23
Place of PublicationVictoria, Australia
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Youth employment
  • Adversity capital
  • Young people
  • Schooling

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