School to Work Transitions

A study of school-industry partnerships in small and medium enterprises in South East Queensland

At the time this study was commenced (2003) Queensland had approximately 50% of the nation’s school-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBAAs). This over-representation of the state in this field begs askance of why such transitions are so popular. When this figure is considered in concert with the national skill shortage, the figure becomes even more important, particularly considering the ratio of the population to the SBAAs in this state to the others. Interestingly, most of the SBAAs are undertaken in the South-East corridor of the state. This research project sought to understand the uptake of the SBAAs in the state and the potential areas of weakness. With apprenticeship numbers increasing – for example, there was a 21% increase in commencement of apprenticeships between March 2004 and March 2005 (NCVER, 2005) – the transition from school to work is becoming a pathway for more school leavers. Indeed, the reduction of students seeking to take University places is seen as a consequence of the uptake of skilled trades and workplace arrangements. With approximately 50% of apprentices and trainees completing their original training (NCVER, 2005b Apprentice and trainee completion rates), there is a need to understand the processes, benefits and issues associated with the induction, training and education of young people.

To better understand this phenomenon, the project consisted of a major study undertaken in the Gold Coast region. This was supplemented with further work undertaken in rural Australia (NSW and Victoria) and a major region in Central Queensland. These other sites allowed for comparisons to be undertaken, but more importantly provided insights into the issues confronted by regional and rural Australia in the provision of pathways from school to work.