Rose Vujcic and the pilot project giving students a head start
One of the members of the Careers Immersion Team, Rose Vujcic is passionate about helping students in the Campbelltown Cluster of the EPPP.
Architect. Carpenter. Filmmaker. It’s only natural for young people to wonder what they’ll do when they ‘grow up.’ But how do you turn that vague sense of wonder into an actionable sense of possibility? In other words, how do you best counsel students that are approaching the end of their schooling on the career pathways that are available to them?
Rose Vujcic is a member of the Careers Immersion Team, and Head Teacher - Careers for the Campbelltown Cluster of the Educational Pathways Pilot Program (EPPP). Unsurprisingly, Rose has a few things to say on this topic. For a start, it’s important to engage students in the career conversation sooner rather than later.
“The earlier the intervention, the better prepared our young people will be and the more successful they’ll be as they transition from school to training, employment or further education,” says Rose.
Fortunately, timely and targeted intervention is one of the hallmarks of the EPPP pilot that Rose is currently facilitating in the Campbelltown Cluster. And it’s worth noting that those interventions have continued apace, through structured weekly check-ins conducted over Google Classroom and Facebook, despite students learning from home in recent weeks.
So, what’s next for Rose Vujcic and her colleagues in the Campbelltown Cluster?
The EPPP pilot, which was unveiled in November 2019, aims to give students a better sense of what lies beyond the school gates, and provide them with more personalised and targeted careers advice. Rose’s immediate aims are to improve the quality of that advice, increase the uptake of School-Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs), and improve opportunities for disadvantaged and disengaged students, all of which have resonated strongly with teachers and principals in South Western Sydney.
On the matter of advice, Rose is clear: “We want students and young people to make informed decisions, as opposed to rash ones.”
“Sometimes there’s a pressure for kids to make decisions quickly and to know what they are going to do after school. They're human, and it's our prerogative to change our mind, but they need to know how to position themselves to be adaptable, and part of that means they need to get some really solid advice.”
Of course, improving the quality of that advice is only part of the EPPP puzzle. Where Rose and her team are really forging ahead is in the expansion of practical opportunities for students.
“We know that students who undertake SBATs or VET are more likely to complete vocational study post-school and also attain employment in that field,” says Rose.
“So, one of the projects I've started with the schools is to help develop those particular skills in students so they are best prepared to head into a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship, or for that matter, a fulltime one if that’s what they choose to do.”
Rose is especially passionate about improving outcomes for disengaged and disadvantaged students. With the evidence clearly showing that disengagement at school only serves to entrench disadvantage, Rose is on a mission to break that cycle through the establishment of practical measures designed to benefit vulnerable students.
“Having things in place that helps these students gain an edge, such as a fee-free VET pathway through Smart and Skilled, is needed,” says Rose.
Judging by the enthusiasm with which the EPPP has been received in the 24 participating schools, it appears that teachers, principals and students agree wholeheartedly.
At NSW Education, our purpose is clear: To prepare young people for rewarding lives as engaged citizens in a complex and dynamic society. The work that Rose Vujcic and her team are doing in the Campbelltown Cluster in South Western Sydney will go a long way to helping us deliver on that purpose, for all students.
- Student engagement and participation