Based on the key elements of the P-TECH model, the P-TECH styled learning program at McCarthy Catholic College in Emu Plains, Western Sydney is being designed by the school’s leadership team and local education, industry and community partners to suit local circumstances.
In the P-TECH model, local employers partner with schools, TAFEs/RTOs and universities to strengthen students’ prospects of a successful transition to work by ensuring they develop the technical and personal skills employers are looking for.
In January 2017, McCarthy Catholic College introduced a range of activities to build student awareness of STEM related careers and associated education and training pathways. These activities were focused on generating student interest in pursuing an industry supported pathway to achieve a post-school qualification in Information Technology—an area of growing local employment demand. To achieve this goal, the college is working collaboratively with other education and training providers and global professional services leader PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia (PwC), and Telstra.
To prepare its students for the world beyond school, all Year 9 students at McCarthy Catholic College (over 100 in total), commenced a P-TECH immersion program in 2017, and are taking part in a range of industry supported learning experiences that will extend their education beyond the classroom.
This includes opportunities to connect and build relationships with industry partners, and engage in hands-on, project-based activities, both at school and in the workplace. These experiences will help students to better understand the relevance of their learning and how it can be applied in the workplace.
In future years, and with support from industry partners and industry mentors, students will have the opportunity to pursue formal STEM training as part of a nationally recognised VET qualification, while also undertaking their Higher School Certificate (HSC). With ongoing support from their industry mentor, and established connections with the school’s industry partners, P-TECH students will have the opportunity to extend their study beyond secondary school, and transition to a post-secondary education institution to achieve a STEM related diploma, advanced diploma or associate degree.
Participating in the P-TECH styled learning program will build student interest and skills in STEM, and raise awareness of the breadth and depth of STEM related training and employment pathways that are locally available. The program will be structured to develop the technical and personal skills students need to succeed at school and make a successful transition to further study and work beyond school.