Now more than ever, supporting and encouraging our young people
to finish their studies and further their employment opportunities
Our region is undergoing significant changes in the labour
market, and the exit of major manufacturing industries demands a
shift to a more modern knowledge and skills-based economy.
The establishment of the first Pathways in Technology Early
College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn, New York in 2011 by IBM
and partners, was a new vision for education and career readiness.
The Committee for Geelong recently met with Rashid Davis, the
Principal of the first P-TECH school to learn more about the
Governments and businesses world-wide recognise the vital role
that the primary skills of Science, Technology, Engineering and
Maths (STEM) play in transitioning to a new global economy.
The P-TECH model has been designed to focus on these in demand
skills and tackle the current disconnect between education and
The P-TECH program provides senior secondary students with a
pathway to a STEM diploma or advanced diploma. It includes industry
mentoring and improves the prospects of employment for young
Public-private partnerships are essential to ensuring that
secondary students have both the academic and workplace skills they
need to succeed. With financial support from the Australian
Government, the Skilling Australia Foundation and partners have
implemented a local model adapted from the US. Over the past year
Geelong businesses and Newcomb Secondary College (NSC), which hosts
the P-TECH pilot in Geelong, have been working together to provide
students with an appreciation of STEM and its relevance to future
The Year 9 students from NSC are studying english, science and
maths as well as undertaking a specialist STEM learning programme.
As part of this programme the students recently visited Geelong
based valuation and property advisors Opteon Property Group,
together with Tribal Campus - a leading provider of cloud-based
programs for the education sector. Students have also been visiting
other P-TECH partners including Barwon Health, Bendigo Bank and
GMHBA. In parallel, a P-TECH school commenced in Ballarat
with educator Federation College and IBM as the employer
Simon Birmingham, Australia's Minister for Education, recently
flagged 12 new P-TECH schools that will join the initial pilot
sites in Geelong and Ballarat. This is part of the Federal
Government's commitment to open up new opportunities for young
Australians to ensure they get the skills employers need.
Skilling Australia Chairman Fred Maddern OBE has stressed the
need to increase the number of students undertaking STEM studies,
and interest in the new P-TECH schools has been Australia-wide. A
large number of employers around the country have also expressed
strong interest in following the lead of Geelong businesses to form
partnerships with local educators and the community.
The partnerships between the schools and industry are already
providing opportunities for students to engage with the world of
work, and better understand the relevance of their learning to jobs
and post-school pathways.
Our community should be proud that, as Geelong transforms, our
city is leading the way with the innovative P-TECH education
Rebecca Casson is the Committee for Geelong Chief Executive
Officer. Follow the Committee for Geelong on Twitter