June 21, 2017

As Key Influencers, School Career Practitioners Need More Time to Assist Students Make Well-Informed Decisions

There are set to be almost 800,000 school graduates in the next three years, and equipping them to make well-informed decisions about their next chapter of life is front of mind for school based career practitioners.

Research released today by the Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) and McCrindle shows that whilst parents are still the number one influencers on their children’s career planning, career practitioners come in second, with more than half of students identifying their career teachers/advisors in their top two people they are most comfortable to approach about career advice.

Higher education dropouts on the rise; school career practitioners allocated less time than ever

A higher proportion of young people today are entering university education than ever before (predicted to be 1 in 2 Generation Z—currently aged 8-22), however, one in three university students don’t complete their course within six years of enrolment. The fall of completion rates of university students, and increase of cancellations and withdrawals of apprentices and trainees, point towards a need for students to be better informed when making decisions about training or further study.

Research shows that whilst the full time career practitioners have the greatest ability to fully implement the most effective career development strategies—such as one-on-one interviews and career action plan development—less than half (48%) of Australia’s school based career practitioners are fulltime. In fact, school career practitioners are 2 times more likely to have had their time allowance decreased than increased in the last three years.

Executive Director of CICA, David Carney said “Quality career guidance inspires and assist students in making well informed decisions about further education, training or employment.  It gives them invaluable insight into the world of work and what education and training paths they need to undertake to achieve their career goals. Schools also need to be equipping their students with the skills required to manage and grow their careers through a planned program of career education learning.”

Full time school career practitioners are most able to fully implement the most effective forms of career development activities

The most effective forms of career development for students are (% identified as extremely effective):

  1. Interview with a career advisor
  2. Work experience
  3. Vocational Education and Training in schools
  4. Hosting or visiting career expos
  5. Attending University/TAFE/RTO Open days

Whilst these are the most effective forms of career development activities in schools, the ability for school career practitioners to fully implement these activities is limited by their time and resource allocation. Whilst an interview with a career advisor is the most effective form of career development, only 53% of part time career practitioners are able to full implement this activity in the schools they work in.

“Australia is approaching the biggest intergenerational employment transition ever and what is needed for students about to commence further study or work, in addition to world’s best education is world’s best careers advice,” says Mark McCrindle, principal of McCrindle.

CICA has published a School Career Development Service Benchmark Resource.  This resource has been developed for Principals and leadership teams of schools to help them achieve the best value and outcomes from their career development services. For a copy of the benchmark visit www.cica.org.au/quality-benchmarking

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This release references the findings from a national survey conducted by CICA of 716 career practitioners working in schools across Australia, visualised in the infographic, ‘What’s Happening in our Schools’.