The transition from school to work

This section examines: Education participation and attainment Participation in full-time, part-time and casual work Youth unemployment Youth disengagement

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The Overview

Transition is becoming more complex and challenging

One of the most fundamental obligations of any society is to prepare its adolescents and young adults to lead productive and prosperous lives as adults

Harvard Graduate School “Pathways to Prosperity” report 2011

This section summarises data provided by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (2013 and 2014) and other FYA commissioned research.

   READ OUR SUMMARY REPORT CARD 2015

DOWNLOAD THE FULL NCVER REPORT: HOW YOUNG PEOPLE ARE FARING IN THE TRANSITION FROM SCHOOL TO WORK

DOWNLOAD THE DATA TABLES

 Work is changing

Today’s fifteen year old will enter a workforce that looks different from the one of today.  Three economic drivers are transforming work:

  • automation will affect what work is available: It is estimated 40% of jobs are at high risk of automation over the next ten to fifteen years.  This includes 70% of the jobs young people move into as entry level jobs.  Currently 60% of young people are being trained for jobs that will be affected (70% in VET).
  • globalisation will change where work is done: Australia has already lost hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs to competing locations around the world. Now, new technology platforms mean up to 11% of service sectors jobs are also at risk of being done overseas (IT work, architecture, design, business services, etc).
  • collaboration, or flexibility, will affect how work is done: increasingly people are constructing their incomes from a “portfolio of activities” that might include casual, part-time or contract work and participation in the ‘sharing’ economy (driving a Uber taxi, renting out a spare room on Air BnB, etc) (FYA 2015).

NWO opportunities and risks

There are both opportunities and risks associated with these changes for young people. Whether Australia can maximise its opportunities and minimise the risks depends on our policy choices now (FYA 2015).

READ ABOUT FUTURE WORK AND POLICY OPTIONS IN OUR REPORT NEW WORK ORDER: ENSURING YOUNG AUSTRALIANS HAVE SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE FOR THE JOBS OF THE FUTURE, NOT THE PAST.

Transition is becoming more complex

Young people’s pathways into work are already becoming more complex and challenging (section 2).  It has been estimated that school leavers today will have 17 jobs over 5 careers over their lifetime (McCrindle 2014).

One analysis of longitudinal Australian data has reported young people are increasingly “churning” through work and other activities after finishing school (Fry & Boulton 2013).  It identified five transition pathways for young people aged 15 to 24 (shown below) and found 52% were now mixing work with periods of study, unemployment or time spent out of the labour force (Fry & Boulton 2013).  While this may be by choice for some young people, high youth unemployment and underemployment rates suggest some young people are finding themselves in a precarious position in the labour market.

The five transition pathways from school are:

  • move directly into employment
  • combine work and study and then work after attaining their post-school qualification
  • work or work/study but take longer to get full time work
  • “churn” through spells of work interspersed with other activities
  • have a prolonged period of not being in the labour force (Fry & Boulton 2013).

Being able to navigate this increasingly complex work context will require young people to be enterprising and have the skills to navigate flexible careers.  They will also need to have access to good knowledge about labour market – where the jobs and opportunities are arising – so they can make smart decisions about education and work planning.  The following sections show there is a mismatch between what education is providing and what young people need to prepare for the new world of work.

 

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  1. Young people are a vital resource
  2. Future challenges for young people
  3. The transition from school to work
  4. Contributing to and leading change