The SET Plan: Setting students up for success | Career Counsellor, Ms Natalie Twine
I’ll acknowledge that it’s a gross simplification, but students coming into my office seem to fall into two broad categories: active and passive. The “active” career planners are curious about the world of work. They have ideas about potential career paths and their means for navigating a course towards career fulfilment. The “passive” students tell me they have “no idea,” and haven’t thought about it. They are usually living in the moment and even though they are in their final years of secondary school, the world of full-time employment seems like a distant, far-off land they expect to travel to one day.
I’ve always wondered how the “passive” students fare beyond school. Longitudinal research suggests that “active” career planners have significantly better outcomes. Last year I participated in a webinar with Dr Anthony Mann, a policy analyst with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He presented data that followed 15-year-old students over ten years. Those who could articulate a career goal at age 15 earned significantly more than their “no idea” peers at 25. They also reported higher levels of life satisfaction. Participation in career development activities was correlated with positive long-term outcomes. According to Dr Mann, this research has been replicated in many countries.
Research of this nature offers strong validation of our Senior Education and Training (SET) planning process which requires every student in Year 10 to articulate a possible career goal and the means for reaching that goal. The SET planning process is flexible. Students can rethink their goals and aspirations. It mitigates passivity in career planning.
The research supports the view that “career thinking” should be encouraged in our students. This can take many forms: career conversations with parents, teachers, friends and relatives, attendance at careers expos, visits to Open Days at universities and registered training organisations, work experience, career education lessons in class, net-based exploration of career information/resources and conversations at school with the Career Counsellor. These activities enlighten our students and prompt them to think of the possibilities that await them as eventual “Old Boys” of Terrace. Each provides them with an opportunity to progress towards a brighter future with life satisfaction and the financial means to fund a positive lifestyle.