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Students to discover future career options

About 400 Year 5 students will visit USC’s Fraser Coast campus tomorrow for a hands-on career immersion event that could help to change their thinking about job options and stereotypes.

USC’s Explore Pathways Expo at its Fraser Coast campus will allow the 10 and 11-year-olds to experience a range of occupations and educational choices open to them in the future.

USC Manager of Student Access and Diversity Veronica Sanmarco said the Expo would provide fun, interactive activities in areas such as high-performance sport, travel and tourism, education, and animal ecology.

“Students can also discover what it is like to work as a police officer, lawyer and criminologist, scientist, personal trainer, librarian and nurse,” she said.

“We know that activities like this can change the way students think about jobs, their career options and their own potential.”

Ms Sanmarco said data obtained from recent Explore events found evidence of an aspirational shift among visiting students.

“Almost 80 percent strongly agreed or agreed that the Explore Expo made them more interested in attending TAFE or university,” she said.

“Of the teachers who attended, more than 90 percent believed the expo had helped to broaden the career aspirations of their students.”

Ms Sanmarco said middle primary school was an important transitional phase in a student’s life.

“Research has found this is when children can form their ideas about job gender stereotypes,” she said.

“These stereotypes, along with a lack of exposure to a broad range of careers, can influence the subjects that they choose in high school and the jobs they end up chasing,” she said.

“It is essential that young people are provided with learning and experiences that challenge their preconceptions about work and careers.”

The expo is part of a wider Explore program run by USC for Year 4, 5 and 6 students which includes classroom activities and career-themed art and creative writing competitions.

Ms Sanmarco said the program helped students to develop an awareness of their own talents and interests while discovering which skills were necessary for a range of different job clusters.

“Students in Year 4 are given opportunities to deepen their understanding of careers and skills related to certain professions,” she said.

“They explore their potential in Year 5 to discover the possibilities when it comes to career options, while in Year 6 they investigate the many pathways open to them through university and vocational training programs,” she said.

Funding is through the Federal Government’s Higher Education Participation and Partnership Program and forms part of a suite of USC programs for primary and secondary school students.

— Clare McKay

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