The Australian Government is investing $5.1 million to pilot P-TECH in Australia. Through the Department of Education and Training, the Skilling Australia Foundation has been engaged to assist local stakeholders work together to implement P-TECH learning programs at 14 P-TECH pilot sites across Australia.
What is P-TECH?
P-TECH is a world leading educational model pioneered in 2011 by IBM in Brooklyn, New York and has since expanded across the USA and internationally.
P-TECH involves the establishment of long-term partnerships between industry, schools and tertiary education providers that enable businesses to play an active role in the learning and career development of their future workforce.
Globalisation, economic reforms and technological improvements are changing the nature of work and the types of jobs that will be available in the future — and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills will play a major role.
In order to have young people entering the labour market with the capability to meet the growing demand for workers with STEM skills, we need to increase the number of students undertaking relevant studies in senior secondary school, and then in post-secondary education and training.
Partnerships between schools and industry provide opportunities for students to engage with the world of work and better understand the relevance of their learning to jobs and post-school pathways.
P-TECH Key Elements
P-TECH is about collaboration – a partnership between education, industry and community – but a partnership with a clear purpose:
To provide an industry supported pathway for young people to achieve a qualification that strengthens their employment prospects.
To achieve this requires the education, industry and community sectors working together to put in place the key elements of P-TECH:
> Innovative curriculum
A key aspect of designing the learning program includes the way existing Australian Curriculum and Australian Qualification Framework recognised education and training is sequenced (or ordered) to achieve the best outcomes for students.
> Innovative approaches to learning
Partnerships between schools and industry enable innovative approaches to the way learning is delivered; approaches that would not be possible if schools, or industry, acted in isolation. Working together, schools and industry can provide opportunities for students to engage with the world of work and better understand the relevance of their learning to jobs and post-school pathways.
> Industry mentoring and support
The mentor relationship between young people and industry personnel provides continuity of support for students to achieve a post-school qualification. The mentor relationship will ensure the students’ learning stays on track and provides opportunities for guidance to help young people make informed decisions regarding their education, training and employment options.
> A post-school qualification
P-TECH schools partner with other education providers (TAFEs/RTOs or universities) to deliver elements of the P-TECH learning program (either on-site or off-site) and achieve a diploma, advanced diploma or associate degree. A strong relationship between the school, industry and post-school institution(s) will provide a seamless pathway and continuity of support for students as they transition from school to further education to complete their post-school qualification.
> Links to employment
Collaboration between the education and industry sectors strengthens the connection between student learning and the skills that employers need. It improves young people’s prospects of employment, including opportunities for employment with industry partners.
St Patrick’s Technical College introduced this innovative program in 2017 with Defence Industry pathways as the key focus. This includes skills and qualifications required to support jobs across a range of defence industry projects of national significance with pathways in:
Defence industries are a huge economic driver in South Australia and through P-TECH courses, StPatsTech students will be able to tap directly into these opportunities.
To achieve this goal, StPatsTech is working in partnership with the Defence Teaming Centre, TAFE SA and local defence industry employers Saab Australia, DXC Technology, Century Engineering and PMB Defence.
In 2018, the Northern Adelaide P-TECH partnership was named a finalist in the SA Training Awards by the Training and Skills Commission in the category of Industry Collaboration.