The need for young people to feel valued, engaged and supported

Rita O'conner
Rita O'conner
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Over the last twenty years, the education, employment, and social pathways of young people has changed enormously. Retaining youth in the country and having a skilled labour force, especially in the trades, are key issues. There have been changes in educational retention, variability in work hours, and the ability to establish their own homes. There is a real need for young people to feel valued, engaged and supported.

Last Thursday in Young, I attended a meeting by Training Services NSW, on vocational education and training issues and school-based apprenticeships and traineeships. There were approximately forty local educators, industry representatives and community members. Training Services NSW is responsible for government-funded vocational education courses and allows for regional NSW to grow and develop.

This has led to the establishment of RIEP, the Regional Industry Education Partnerships initiative, which takes advantage of local knowledge, services and networks to enhance partnerships and boost student engagement with local industry.

The purpose of RIEP is that industry-based curriculum must be relevant and linked to real employment and to provide pathways from school to further education, training and employment. It is a flexible service which recognises existing networks and works with industry to identify potential jobs and career paths and facilitates connections between the four stakeholders – students, industry and the community.

A complementary service is the Apprenticeship Engagement Forum whose main objective is to foster interest in apprenticeships to meet the future skills needs of the construction industry. They have developed a board-developed Maths program called Mathematics in Trades Pathways for students in Years 9-12, which is specifically designed for the Mathematics skills needed in the construction industry.

There was much interest shown by the participants and I hope that partnerships between schools and industries will be reinforced by taking advantage of the new assistance in the Riverina region through RIEP.

– Councillor Rita O’Connor

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