Federation College in Ballarat has been announced as the second pilot site for a school-industry partnership to help students enter the workforce job-ready.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said today’s announcement follows the recent announcement of a pilot site at Newcomb Secondary College in Geelong.

“The Australian Government is committed to trialling the innovative Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) model from 2016, and I’m pleased we have been able to work with the state government to identify a second suitable location in Victoria,” Senator Birmingham said.

“With support from IBM, the Government is excited to expand its P-TECH styled pilot to a second pilot site in Ballarat where IBM has strong connections to the community.

“The involvement of a global company like IBM is very welcome and highlights the vital role business can play in supporting schools, and creating pathways for students to skills and jobs.

“As a school within Ballarat’s Federation University, Federation College offers a range of programmes designed to provide secondary students with a pathway to vocational education and training (VET) and tertiary qualifications. It is an ideal location to pilot and adapt this innovative model of education-industry collaboration in the Australian context.”

During a recent visit to Australia, IBM International Foundation President, Mr Stanley Litow, welcomed the Government’s P-TECH styled pilot and offered IBM’s support, which includes leading the establishment of a pilot site at Federation College.

“We thank the Australian and Victorian Governments for their leadership in launching the P-TECH programme in Australia,” said Kerry Purcell, Managing Director, IBM Australia and New Zealand.

“We are delighted to support the programme at Federation College in Ballarat and look forward to working with governments and education leaders on this innovative partnership.

“Most importantly, P-TECH will help address the pressing issue of preparing today’s students with the strong academic and practical skills they will need to step into tomorrow’s jobs and create a robust and growing knowledge economy here in Australia.”

With help from qualified industry mentors, students at Federation College will be on a pathway to achieve a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related diploma, advanced diploma or associate degree.

“STEM subjects are critical to occupations where we have skills shortages, but we must also keep in mind that these current shortages provide countless young Australians the opportunity to build a great career,” Senator Birmingham said.

IBM’s contribution to the Government’s pilot includes online support, resources that have been developed to assist schools and businesses implement the P-TECH model, and an Impact Grant valued at $250,000 to support the introduction of P-TECH to Australia.

The Australian Government has committed $500,000 towards adapting and localising the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) model at the College in 2016.
The P-TECH styled pilot will educate students for the jobs of the future by focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, by partnering with local industry, and by providing vocational pathways.

“The Government is working closely with IBM and the Skilling Australia Foundation to implement a P-TECH pilot that is suitable for the Australian context,” Senator Birmingham said.

“The P-TECH styled pilot represents an excellent opportunity to further strengthen connections between education and industry to support young people to make a successful transition from school to work.”

Senator Birmingham’s media contact: Caitlin Keage 0427 729 987