In July, the Mitchell Institute’s Kate Torii penned Connecting the worlds of learning and work: prioritising school-industry partnerships in Australia’s education system. The report detailed the importance of industry in the Australian education system and how these relationships can be strengthened to ensure students are adequately prepared for the future of work.
There were several key findings and three recommendations to come out of the report, which can be accessed here. To save you combing through the whole document, we’ve compiled a bite-sized analysis of each finding and recommendation.
There are a broad range of approaches to school-industry partnerships
From real world learning and career expos to mentoring programs and professional development workshops, the scope is large – as is the flexibility that allows partnerships to be tailored to suit local schools and industry partners.
School-industry partnerships can contribute to a wide range of student outcomes
Participating in partnership programs can stimulate students and help develop skills crucial to the future workforce (think problem solving, digital literacy and collaboration). This is particularly beneficial for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, who might otherwise miss out on being exposed to these opportunities.
School-industry partnerships have been on the policy agenda for several years, but have not yet been implemented in all schools
While most people can agree that school-industry partnerships are a good idea, actually executing them is a different story. Gonski 2.0 acknowledged that these partnerships are “not common practice and implementation can be ad hoc”.
Many schools engage with industry partners, but there are persistent barriers
There are several key deterrents, even for schools that are working hard to initiate partnerships. These range from a lack of time and competing priorities to procurement policy and child safety regulations.
School-industry partnerships needs to be valued and measured at the system level
These partnerships must be more formally recognised in the school system and communicated to parents. Metrics need to be implemented so that partnerships can be assessed according to whether they are meeting objectives.
School-industry partnerships need to be a priority in all schools
In order to appropriately prioritise school-industry partnerships, there must be compromises. This could come in the form of teachers being given extra release time to participate in partnerships or the allocation of additional resources.
Governments need to make it easier for all parties to engage in school-industry partnerships
The government plays a key role in addressing a range of issues facing the school-industry partnership model, including regulatory problems, connecting schools with industry partners and facilitating equitable relationships.