Resources boom lures Year 12 graduates away from uni

Jessica Bray wanted to drop out of high school in Year 10, but chose to go to Gladstone Technical College instead and has now finished Year 12 and is working in hospitality.
Jessica Bray wanted to drop out of high school in Year 10, but chose to go to Gladstone Technical College instead and has now finished Year 12 and is working in hospitality. Christopher Chan

GLADSTONE'S booming industry has seen a revolution in how our students approach life after school.

Gladstone State High School acting principal Kevin Giles said getting an apprenticeship or a traineeship was now an attractive alternative to pinning hopes on a good OP.

"Over recent years there has been a decrease, statewide, in the number of students actually going for an OP," he said.

"There is a decrease in the number of students university-bound."

The school has adapted to this reality with its technical college.

"There was lots of consultation with industry and business to come up with that model," Mr Giles said.

"That's what industry wanted, rather than the one day a week (traditional) set up."

Results from the Year 12 Outcomes Report by the Queensland Studies Authority, shows positive results for schools in central Queensland.

Click here to see the full results for our region.

Of CQ's 2116 graduates in 2012, 14% received OPs of 1-5.

This is compared to 15% in north Queensland (1696 graduates) and south-east Queensland's 13% (6313 graduates).

In central Queensland, 17% of graduates were involved in school-based apprenticeships or traineeships, compared to 18% in north Queensland and 21% in the south-east.

Gladstone businesses have faced challenges with the resource boom and local schools have had similar problems with retaining staff.

"(There have been) shortages of staff in particular areas and we do have a relatively high staff turnover," Mr Giles said

"We're still being able to staff the school with excellent teachers."

Mr Giles pointed to the school's results as evidence of its performance despite these difficulties.

"Things have improved steadily from my recollection of the data," he said. "The results of our senior students have been on the up."

Despite the changing educational climate, Mr Giles said schools still held an important place for the future.

"There's been a lot of research done that shows the higher the level of education attained, the better the outcomes for them (students) later in life."

Technical college opportunities kept student in school

JESSICA Bray is a receptionist at Gladstone's Mercure Hotel with senior school and business qualifications under her belt.

But she came close to choosing a different path.

"I hit Year 10 and wasn't sure what I was going to do. I didn't like school at the time," she said.

Ms Bray's mum came to the rescue, urging her daughter to try the Gladstone Technical College, which is part of Gladstone State High School.

Students do two weeks of school and practical work on a rotational basis.

"I found working was so much better than being stuck at school," Ms Bray said.

If she had dropped out, Ms Bray guesses she would be working full-time, but is unsure if she would have the qualifications she has today.

"With all the certificates I get in hospitality, (I can go) basically anywhere," she said.

Topics:  apprenticeship education univeristy year 12

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