Local schools to participate in new $10 million pilot program

Bonnyrigg, Bossley Park, Cecil Hills, Prairiewood and St Johns Park High School students will be the first in NSW to participate in an innovative new $10 million pilot program that will transform the way students and parents think about career pathways.

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said 10 different initiatives grouped under the Educational Pathways Pilot Program will be trialled initially in 24 schools in areas that are experiencing higher levels of youth unemployment in south-west Sydney and on the North Coast.

"The program is aimed at making sure students pick the subjects at school that will put them on the right career pathway," Mr Lee said.

"For some that may mean vocational education and training (VET) subjects including apprenticeships while for others it will be university.

"At the heart of these pilot initiatives is the government's desire to improve career advice, increase school-based apprenticeships and traineeships and help our most disadvantaged and disengaged students further their education.

One of the pilot programs will involve a partnership with the Master Builders Association to promote apprenticeship and traineeship pathways to university.

"Another pilot will see the creation of a specialist Careers Immersion Team that will collaborate with local industry and employers provide job opportunities for students.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the skills offered through pathways are "vital to our society."

"I want to ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn and prepare for their next stage of life no matter what career they are interested in," Ms Mitchell said.

"Through this program, we're not only helping young people find a suitable pathway into further education and training to maximise their chances of employment but also building up skills in regional areas to keep our economy growing."

Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women Bronnie Taylor said: "Having a job is one of the best ways to boost self-esteem and create opportunity; we can't allow youth who are disengaged from school to fall through the cracks."