Innovative Pathways from Secondary School: Gaining a Sense of Direction

Year: 2003

Author: Boyd, Sally, McDowall, Sue

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The transitions from school young people are experiencing today are increasingly becoming less predictable and more complex than the school-to-work transitions of the past (Wyn & Dwyer, 1999; Furlong & Cartmel, 1997). In the past a “career for life” was the backbone of people‘s working life. Now young people have no such backbone, and they are entering a world in which there is a lesser demand for unskilled workers; increased access to higher education and rapid growth in the range of tertiary study options, institutions, and qualifications; and in which there is increasing individualism in lifestyles. In this world there is a lot of choice, and young people need to be flexible and versatile as they manage their careers. They need to be prepared to have more than one career, and have the skills needed to participate in the knowledge economy. How can school teachers and careers educators support students in making informed decisions about their future study and career options as they enter this environment?

To provide some answers to this question, we are conducting a longitudinal study, Innovative Pathways from School, which examines the influence, on student career decision-making, of the transition support (that is, information, advice, guidance, and career development activities) provided to students at seven low decile schools through their non-conventional programmes of study. This study also examines how the partnerships made between schools and tertiary providers and employers influence students’ transition decision-making, and assist them in their transition from school.