Plan to improve Year 12’s prospects after graduating
EDUCATION bosses are trying new innovative approaches to get more of Bundaberg’s Year 12 school leavers into further education or a job.
In the wake of alarming figures released this week, which showed nearly one in five graduates failing to secure work or go to university, the Department of Education has released details on the initiatives it has implemented at different schools across the region.
In one promising development, the region has been identified as a youth disengagement hotspot with a pilot initiative, called the Link and Launch Program, showing early signs of significant success.
Earlier this week the School Completers survey showed fewer of the 2018 Bundaberg Year 12 graduates were attending university and more were finding themselves unemployed.
The survey showed 82.1 per cent of last year’s Year 12 graduates went into further education, training or paid employment, a figure which has dropped since last year’s survey figures of 84 per cent.
In Brisbane the number is above 90.6 per cent.
In Bundaberg just on 25 per cent are going to university, compared to almost 60 per cent in Brisbane.
In response to the worrying trends, the department highlighted the number of initiatives either recently instated or set to arrive next year. These included:
Link and Launch
The Link and Launch initiative only began trials in term four of this year and is aimed to lift the engagement of young people post Year 12.
In the announcement of the program in June, Education Minister Grace Grace said a Bundaberg school was one of only four schools participating in the trial and receiving the funding.
“Thanks to $420,000 in funding over four years from the Palaszczuk Government, Bundaberg State High will be one of four schools across Queensland that will pilot the Link & Launch program,” Ms Grace said.
“The program will be available to young people across all Bundaberg high schools and will help them navigate their post-school options and to make a successful transition to study, training or work.”
A spokesman for the Department of Education said the program had helped a number of students during their first term of operation.
“Link and Launch is a Queensland Government initiative designed to target youth disengagement hot spots and improve outcomes for young people after they leave school,” the spokesman said.
“Link and Launch Officers from the Department of Education have been operating in the Bundaberg region during Term 4 2019.
“In just seven weeks they have linked 18 previously disengaged young people with work or study.”
Link and Launch will expand to 10 other sites next year and to 30 Queensland locations by 2022.
Bundaberg secondary schools have responded to students’ struggles by providing individualised education programs.
The department spokesman said the engagement programs had targeted students who may have been disengaging or at risk of disengaging from education and next year, the programs would come together to provide support to students across the three Bundaberg high schools.
“These initiatives have successfully supported students to access Vocational Education and Training programs, transition back to a mainstream school setting or transition to further training opportunities.”
Girls Academy continues to run in Bundaberg and has done since 2018 with the aim to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island girls.
The program works with all three Bundaberg high schools trying to use community-led solutions to help the girls engage with education, through leadership, mentoring and overcoming obstacles which could hinder them from attending school.
Another program aimed to provide learning experiences and support for high school students at risk of disengaging with education is Flexispace.
In her June announcement, Ms Grace said Bundaberg North State High would receive $110,000 to ensure the successful delivery of the Flexispace initiative.
“FlexiSpace is about engaging disengaged young people with education, employment or training,” she said.
Success Coach aims to support the wellbeing of younger students and continue to keep them engaged in school.
The department spokesman said the program would be coming to Kepnock State High School in 2020 as it has been selected to trial the Success Coach initiative.
“This initiative targets junior secondary students and provides at risk students with mentoring and advocacy to support their continued engagement in the mainstream setting.”