April 21, 2022

You Can’t Be What You Can’t See. Careers Education in Secondary Schools

Careers education in schools has a vital role in providing information and advice to young people about their education, training and work options. Unfortunately, among the young people the National Youth Commission Australia spoke to, few had positive experiences of their careers education. On the other hand, the Commission heard numerous stories of effective careers education in schools. The Commission is concerned that the quality of careers education varies considerably across Australia. While there are examples of high-quality careers education in some schools, the minimum standards need significant improvement.

While there are some excellent careers education programs, careers education in secondary schools generally needs improvement.

The young people who presented to the Commission generally had negative experiences of careers education. The problem with careers education is that it is usually not seen as a core part of the curriculum and the role of careers advisor is not one that is often keenly sought after in schools.

State, territory and non-government school education systems can improve Careers education in schools by:

• Implementing a comprehensive careers education program in all secondary schools

• Starting careers education earlier

• Strengthening school-industry links

• Providing more funding for careers education.

Careers education, at its best, can assist young people learn about the world of work, navigate the many paths available to them through senior secondary school, postschool education and training and to work.

Young people deserve the best help that can be provided in making the decisions that will impact their immediate post-school future and the formation of their careers identity.

Since this Inquiry commenced, the Victorian Government has introduced a plan to enhance careers education in Victorian government schools.

The plan reflects the recommendations of this report. While it is still too early to measure the impact of the changes, the Commission welcomes the renewed focus on careers education in Victoria. The Commission now calls on other school systems across the country to review and enhance their careers education programs where they are inadequate.


National Youth Commission Australia. (2022). You Can’t Be What You Can’t See. Careers Education in Secondary Schools. Victoria.