Victoria opens two P-Tech schools

The Pathways in Technology (P-Tech) model is being unveiled in Victorian schools as part of the federal government’s innovation and science agenda. The pilot schools are located in Ballarat and Geelong, set to provide new opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for local students.

Hosted at Federation College, located with Federation University Australia’s campus in Ballarat, and Geelong’s Newcomb Secondary College, the pilot is modelled on a successful US program called Pathways in Technology Early College High School. Close to 30 high schools were established under this scheme, offering two years of post-school training in STEM disciplines.

The program — supported at the Ballarat site by IBM — offers senior secondary students an industry-supported pathway to a STEM-related diploma, advanced diploma or associate degree. Students are able to continue in their field at tertiary level or pursue employment with one of the school’s industry partners. P-Tech students complete regular school subjects, such as English and mathematics, alongside advanced STEM study.  

Schools will benefit from key aspects of the US-based P-Techs, including:

  • collaboration between education and industry sectors
  • innovative curriculum design
  • hands-on workplace experience
  • industry mentoring and support
  • supported pathways for disadvantaged students to achieve a post-school qualification
  • support for disadvantaged students to make a successful transition to work.

Victoria’s P-Tech schools will help to address low uptake of science and mathematics at school level, as well as dwindling interest in these areas in the tertiary sector.

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