Teenage girls given the chance to "try a trade" are increasingly opting to study VET trade subjects while at school.
This week the year 10 students at Ballarat Christian College had the chance to learn some basic trade skills as they built a cubby house to get a taste of the tradie life.
During the day-long program, five of the 13 girls taking part asked if they could swap into building and construction vocational course from their current courses including health, hairdressing and sport and recreation.
The NextGen Tradies program has been run at 12 schools over the past year and according to Highlands LLEN school-employer engagement and structured workplace learning coordinator Polly Britten, 15 per cent of the girls who have taken part have either switched VET course, or taken up a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship, or a full-time apprenticeship or traineeship.
The day is not just about learning about the power tools and skills needed on a worksite.
Some have no idea what they want to do when they leave school. This gives them things to think about that they might not have thought about before- Karen Farquhar
There's lessons on occupational health and safety and risk management, what to expect on a construction site, apprenticeships, and a session with Women's Health Grampians on challenging stigmas and stereotypes in the industry.
"Ultimately the program is designed to give students exposure to different industries, and not an industry they may necessarily have considered or get to partake in because of the legalities of getting to a construction site," Ms Britten said.
"The day in itself is getting them out on to worksite, but still on school premises."
Ms Britten said even if students did not decide to take on a career in building or construction, the day taught them practical skills they could take with them through life.
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Ballarat Christian College careers teacher Karen Farquhar said many students at year 10 level had no idea what they wanted to do.
The school organises several "industry immersion" days so students get experience across different industries.
"Either people come on site to talk to them or to do practical projects so they get to experience different industries and open them up to different opportunities or knowledge. Some kids have no idea what they want to do or no idea about an industry and what it might entail," Ms Farquhar said.
She said COVID had made it more difficult to give students the kind of experiences that could help them choose a future career. "Some have no idea what they want to do when they leave school," she said. "This gives them things to think about that they might not have thought about before."
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