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St Patrick’s Technical College students buck trend in youth employment

Adelaide high school, St Patrick’s Technical College, is a shining example of empowering young people thanks to its education model that sees an unemployment rate of past students of just one per cent.

Responding to two national reports released today (the Mitchell Institute Preparing Young People for the Future of Work report and the Brotherhood of St Laurence Generation Stalled report), St Patrick’s Technical College business development manager Patrick Kelly said the college was proof that investing in students’  employability – and not university entrance numbers – could lead more work-ready and successful youth.

StPatsTech is bucking the trends mentioned in both reports – high youth unemployment and students not coming out with the skills to enter the modern workforce. The college recently released an interim report that tracks past students and it shows the past student unemployment rate is just one per cent. Three out of five students from the college will commence an apprenticeship with 93 per cent going onto complete their training. Of the respondents, 16 per cent were self-employed and many reported they stayed in the northern Adelaide area.

Mr Kelly said while a full report would come out later this year, the college firmly believed its success was down to a holistic approach to education.

Mr Kelly said the college was already doing many of the recommendations to come out of the Mitchell Institute report, such as building students’ capabilities, valuing vocational education, and supporting students with career advice and mentoring.

“I welcome the Mitchell Institute report and encourage the authors to take a closer look at what we are doing here at St Patrick’s Technical College. We are the realisation of their ideal outcomes to improve employment outcomes for our youth,’’ Mr Kelly said.

“Our whole focus here at St Patrick’s Technical College is to produce a productive, valued and skilled worker. We don’t pressure our students with what number they need to attain by the end of year 12 in order to get into university because not everyone is suited nor wants to pursue a university level education. And for those students who through year 11 and 12 do decide they would like to go onto tertiary education, they are able to do that from our school as well.’’

Mr Kelly said he welcomed the report’s comment that high quality VET systems are essential to ensure the country has the skilled workforce needed for the 21st century.

“The report says ‘A university education is not a good fit for all young people, and not necessary for all jobs’, that is something we at StPatsTech have been saying for the past decade,’’ Mr Kelly said.

“Yet we still find many high schools will not promote or encourage schools like ours to take on students who could be thriving under our guidance. We hope reports like the Mitchell Institute’s will help change attitudes.’’

The Brotherhood of St Laurence report showed that as of February 2017, 282,000 young people were unemployed and 377,000 were underemployed. This, the report says, means the youth unemployment rate it at its highest in almost 40 years.

Reasons why StPatsTech is a success:

  • Students achieve their SACE while concurrently studying a TAFE SA Certificate II in their chosen trade.
  • Work Ready Skills program that focusses on developing students’ self-management, communication, planning and organisation, problem-solving, teamwork.
  • One of the most comprehensive School-based Apprentice Programs. SbAT students can spend as little as six weeks at school while undertaking their first year of an apprenticeship. These students finish year 12 with their SACE and a job.
  • More than 400 local employers – from small businesses to multi-nationals – have partnerships with the college.
  • Guaranteed place at TAFE SA following the successful completion of year 12 and the Cert II
  • P-TECH school – in November 2016 St Patrick’s Technical College was announced as the only SA school to be included in this Australian Government pilot program. P-TECH aims to ensure future generations of young Australians have the skills to equip them for the 21st century workforce through partnerships with education, industry and community. There is a strong focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and development innovative, engaged thinkers.
  • Extensive work experience program – students are encouraged to undertake at least six weeks’ of work experience per year. This has led to many of our students securing apprenticeships and employment following graduation.

St Patrick’s Technical College is a $15 million purpose-built facility in Edinburgh North and runs courses in three schools: the School of Building and Construction; the School of Community Services, Hospitality and Lifestyle; and the School of Engineering and Transport.

For more information or to speak with Mr Kelly please contact StPatsTech communications officer Hayley Odgers on 8209 3709 or

Copies of the interim report are available on request.