Woolgoolga Public School kids ace employability skills test
A group of Year 6 students on the North Coast recently participated in a novel careers workshop organised by the Educational Pathways Pilot Program.
22 June 2021
The brainchild of David Youman, Head Teacher Careers for the Grafton Cluster of schools, the ‘Let’s Get Ready’ careers workshop on Thursday 10 June was the pilot’s first foray into a primary school setting. David and his colleagues had been discussing the possibility of running a workshop with primary students and, earlier this year, they put the feelers out with local schools. There was no shortage of interest, but in the end the stars aligned for Woolgoolga.
The day-long workshop was delivered on site by ShoreTrack, a Nambucca Valley-based not-for-profit. Founded by two former TAFE NSW teachers, ShoreTrack had plenty of experience running similar programs for high school students, but this was their first attempt at engaging younger students. If anyone was slightly nervous about how it would go, they needn’t have worried.
“It was pretty impressive how they developed the program,” says David.
“They made it age appropriate to ensure the kids could participate fully. With the catering component, for example, they were using air fryers rather than pots of oil.”
Over the course of the day students rotated through a range of activities designed to give them a sense of what various careers involve. There was a plumbing experience, a coding and robotics room, an activity responding to an emergency lead by a retired police woman and an introduction to creative design, in addition to the catering class. As the kids rotated through the catering station, they each contributed to the celebratory afternoon tea they enjoyed together at the end of the day.
“The cooking experience had a nice community aspect to it as the kids had to work together to prepare something they could all share,” says David.
Along the way, the students were introduced to the eight employability skills: Communication, Teamwork, Self-management, Problem solving, Initiative & enterprise, Technology, Planning & organising, and Learning. Somewhat surprisingly, they remembered them.
“Looking back on the day, it was clear that the students got a lot out of it,” says David.
“They could even recite the eight employability skills, which is something I sometimes struggle to get Year 8 and 9 students to do.”
The kids weren’t the only ones who were impressed with the workshop. School staff, including Principal Paul Clark, Assistant Principal Karen Enersen and Year 6 Coordinator Clem Ayres, were all blown away by the Let’s Get Ready day, and the students’ reactions to it.
“It was a great day and the students picked up some really valuable information that will help them down the track when they need to think about things like subject selection and work experience,” says Clem.
Woolgoolga parents were pretty chuffed, too. One mum said, “Georgia has not stopped talking about how she now wants to be a plumber.”
It’s great that Georgia knows what she’d like to do when she grows up, but she has plenty of time to figure things out. David Youman, on the other hand, now faces a trickier challenge – satisfying the demand from other North Coast primary schools who’d love to hold their own Let’s Get Ready workshops.