Priority 3: Young people achieve their goals through education, training and employment

Young people are positively engaged with and progress in education and have the knowledge and skills to successfully transition to meaningful further education and employment.

Under Our promise, Your future, education and training prepares young people for future employment but also does so much more. We recognise that education and training can empower young people and their families to:

  • establish their own values
  • understand and embrace their identities
  • connect to their community
  • set and realise their goals
  • live their best lives today and in the future.

This strategy will ensure young people have a stronger sense of belonging at school. This will build young people’s resilience and ability to respond to challenges1. This is particularly relevant for young people facing marginalisation or disadvantage who need all education settings (schools, training and university) to be a place of inclusivity and safety. For our international students, feeling welcome is even more important as they adjust to new environments.

Our promise, Your future recognises and responds to the many changes that young people go through at this time in life. This includes the physical and emotional changes of puberty and adolescence and the moves from primary to secondary school into training, further education, jobs, entrepreneurship and volunteering. Young people will have an education that is more suited to their lifelong needs. As a priority, this strategy builds young people’s life skills, such as literacy skills, accessing welfare support, financial literacy, paying bills, tax, registering to vote, applying for rental properties and jobs, so they feel well equipped to be independent. It also focuses on healthy and respectful relationships, living independently and developing a better understanding of rights and responsibilities.

Young people will have more ways to develop the skills and capabilities they need to build a sustainable and fulfilling career. This includes greater access to hands-on, work-based learning opportunities while they are at school to increase their ability to get the job they want.

Entering the workforce is highly competitive. With many young people in insecure work and industries highly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, young people are finding it harder to achieve their goals and meet their day-to-day needs. Financial insecurity has been a reality for too many young people, pushing them to draw on their superannuation to meet immediate needs. Young women drew on their superannuation at higher rates than young men, decreasing their balances by up to 80 per cent and creating long-term financial vulnerability that exacerbates existing gender inequalities2.

Our promise, Your future focuses on getting more young people into jobs that help create financial security. It builds on the Victorian Government target of 38,000 new jobs each year and the Local Jobs First Major Project Skills Guarantee that requires major construction projects to use apprentices, trainees or cadets for at least 10 per cent of the total estimated labour hours.

Without equitable opportunities, many young people who live regionally or rurally have to move to find work and study opportunities. This is despite many expressing a strong desire to stay in their region. Young women, multicultural and multifaith young people, Aboriginal young people and disabled young people also face barriers and discrimination in entering the workforce. These difficulties can continue without early, targeted supports and changing how we recruit and work. Our promise, Your future sets out a path to give all young people the confidence, support and opportunities they need to secure a job that will fulfil them, to build a career and set them up for financial independence.

Our commitment to young Victorians under priority 3 is

3.1 Support secondary school students to build the skills and confidence they need to become independent. Focus on building financial literacy skills and developing an online skills-for-life toolkit developed with young people.

3.2 Continue to roll out Senior Secondary Pathways Reform to:

  • provide excellent senior secondary education for all students through:
    • an integrated senior secondary certificate, with a vocational major embedded in the VCE
    • improving student access to high-quality VET courses
    • celebrating excellence in vocational and applied learning
    • boosting VET teacher, trainer and school capacity to deliver high quality vocational and applied learning
  • set students up for the future by:
    • transforming careers education
    • creating the Victorian Pathways Certificate to replace Foundation VCAL
    • supporting all students to stay in education and training
  • provide skills for the modern economy by:
    • expanding Head Start apprenticeships and traineeships program to all government school students across Victoria
    • ensuring all students have equitable access to high-quality VET programs regardless of where they live
    • equipping students with the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need for the world of work
    • preparing them to transition into successful pathways into higher education, training or employment.

3.3 Engage with employers to improve employment pathways for young people into the private and not-for-profit sectors by increasing access to learn and earn pathways such as apprenticeships, traineeships and cadetships, job-ready training through Free TAFE and Learn Locals, and expanding work placement opportunities.

3.4 Improve the accessibility and affordability of public transport for disadvantaged school students. This will reduce barriers to taking part in education, work and the community.

‘Add more diversity programs into schools as that is not only where we learn A, B and C’s but is where we first discover our identities.’
– Refugee and migrant youth forum participant

3.5 Expand targeted job support to young people through Jobs Victoria Services. Provide personal assistance to build work readiness and get jobs through:

  • Jobs Victoria Services
  • access to career counselling
  • work opportunities via traineeships and wage subsidies through the Jobs Victoria Fund.

3.6 Strengthen commitments to employ young people who face significant barriers through Victoria’s Social Procurement Framework.

3.7 Build Victoria’s future creative workforce through supports for young people who want a career in the creative industries.

'I have struggled for some time to get a job. You need experience in every single job you apply for but can’t get experience without being given a chance.’
– Survey respondent, 22–25 years old

3.8 Build on successful initiatives to deliver additional support for rural and regional education that improves students’ experiences and outcomes.

3.9 Support school leaders and teachers to activate student agency, voice and leadership in school decision-making processes, including learning, assessment and review.

3.10 Through government policy, help schools to identify and respond to young people who face barriers to completing their education early on. Focus on young people with experiences of trauma and homelessness, and on young carers.

3.11 Embed the voices of students and their families in planning, rolling out and monitoring education reforms. This includes the work of the new Diverse Learners Hub, a centre of excellence in meeting the educational needs of diverse learners such as students with autism, ADHD, dyslexia and dyscalculia.

3.12 Expand job opportunities for young people across the Victorian Public Sector. This includes paid short-term roles that build skills and experience.

3.13 Work with employers and unions to tackle racism, wage theft, gender inequity, systemic discrimination, unsafe work practices and exploitation of young people in the workplace, including sexual harassment. Work with schools, TAFEs, Apprenticeships Victoria and employer and community services peak bodies to build young people’s understanding of their rights in the workplace.

3.14 Increase young people’s awareness of future jobs growth sectors to support their career decisions, as well as their right to safe and secure work.

3.15 Support young people’s access to accreditation to help them enter or stay in the sport and recreation sector.

‘As a young person who keeps getting knocked back from jobs, I wish there was more available. I live in a rural area and everyone keeps telling me to move to the city to find work.’
– Survey respondent, 19–21 years old

Case study: Taking a developmentally informed approach to transitions

Young person, 14 years old

I’ll always remember the class ‘circle time’ sessions we had towards the end of grade 6, where we would simply share our concerns about secondary school.

I worried about not fitting in and struggling with schoolwork. Primary school was the place where the foundation of the majority of my lifelong skills and education developed. I learned how to read and write for the first time but also how to socialise and make friends. Without this foundation I would have never been able to let go of my worries, let alone transition to secondary school.

I started my first year of grade 7 in an all new secondary schooling environment. Moving away from the place I had been educated in for the last seven years of my life was scary at first. Attending the school’s open night, however, where I was led on a small tour of the school by students, helped me feel more comfortable. I got a taste for how the campus looked and heard from former grade 7s about how happy they were at the school, which definitely made me feel comfortable in myself and safe in the environment of the school community. I also had the support of my family who would eventually help me shake the nerves off on my first day.

Overall, my strong primary school education foundation, familial support system, accommodating school faculty and my development of time management and other skills all contributed to making me feel positive and stable in my transition to secondary school. I was now ready and confident to spend the next five years of my life there.


[1] Evans-Whipp & Gasser 2018

[2] HESTA 2020