Initiative spotlight: TAFE NSW Start Your Future

TAFE NSW Start Your Future kicks off Term 3 with a new name and a full schedule of programs. We check in with a young apprentice from Newcastle, who after completing a Start Your Future course in barbering is now employed alongside his TAFE NSW teacher.

Since the pilot of the Educational Pathways Program, the TAFE NSW Start Your Future initiative has been a firm favourite amongst students. Formally known as TAFE NSW YES+, the initiative offers vocational tasters in a wide range of industries. Delivered at a local TAFE NSW campus, the initiative gives students the opportunity to get out of the school setting and engage in TAFE-style learning.

The aim of the initiative is to give students a taste of what careers vocational education can offer.

“We often find that students are not aware of what VET pathways are available to them and this program allows students to experience a range of different industry areas before committing to full qualifications,” says TAFE NSW Project Officer Maddie Sain.

By exposing students to vocational pathways, Start Your Future helps to increase the likelihood of those students considering vocational education and training (VET) subjects in high school and post-school VET options.

Since the initiative kicked off in 148 schools at the beginning of 2022, students have been enthusiastically completing the Start Your Future program, some signing up for multiple programs. Some of the highlights from 2023 include:

  • Over 600 courses offered

  • Over 4,000 students participated in courses to date in a huge range of industries

  • Successful transitions of students moving into other EPP programs or commencing a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship.

Start Your Future is not just about the taster courses. The initiative also provides support services to help students develop individual learning plans that are tailored to their strengths and preferences. This could include career counselling, guidance and mentoring from the experienced and dedicated TAFE NSW support staff.

In the Hunter, 16-year-old Jackson is the perfect example of the support and guidance that can come from completing a Start Your Future program.

In Term 4 2022 Jackson completed the Barbering course as part of the Start Your Future initiative. Learning the basics of clipper work and beard trimming, liaising with clients, and the importance of tool maintenance, Jackson found his passion during the 8 week course.

It was Jackson’s TAFE teacher who noticed this shift and saw a lot of potential in the Rutherford High School student. When speaking to Jackson about the opportunity of commencing an apprenticeship, she was already reaching out to her contacts to find a suitable employer. She advocated for Jackson to her own employer who was so impressed by his skills and commitment, he was offered a full-time apprenticeship.

“The connection our teachers have to their industry is proving to be a very valuable asset for this initiative,” says Maddie Sain.

Jackson started his apprenticeship in July this year and is looking forward to learning new skills and a future in the industry.

“I want to pursue a career in Barbering because I love making people happy and changing how they look all because of the skills I have learnt,” he says.

“My future goal is to own a barber shop one day and build my own business,” adds Jackson.

In Term 3 this year, there are over 50 different programs offered to EPP schools. From traditional trades like carpentry and bricklaying, allied health and nursing, floristry and animal care, to jobs of the future in cyber security and drones/coding, there is a course to suit every student.

We look forward to hearing more stories like Jackson’s and seeing students grow their skills across all these industries as the Start Your Future initiative continues to thrive.

  • News
Return to top of page Back to top