Changing the way children think about careers - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Changing the way children think about careers

12 Jun 2019

Focusing on careers in primary school might seem early, however more than 450 Sunshine Coast students will soon discover it is the perfect time to explore their future job options.

USC will host a hands-on career immersion day for the region’s Year 5 students at its campus on Thursday 13 June from 9am to 2.30pm.

USC Manager of Student Access and Diversity, Veronica Sanmarco, said the Explore Pathways Expo would allow the 10 and 11-year-olds to experience a range of occupations –- and help them change their thinking on gender stereotypes.

“Decades of studies have found children can form their ideas about careers and gender stereotypes at a young age, so early intervention while still in primary school is important,” Ms Sanmarco said.

“These stereotypes and a lack of information on job pathways can influence the subjects that they choose in high school and the jobs they end up chasing.”

Expo exhibitors will provide fun, hands-on experiences across a range of fields, including high-performance athletics, veterinary nursing, town planning, specialist technologies, marketing as well as virtual reality, augmented reality and robotics.

Students can also discover what it is like to work as a lawyer, art exhibitor, scientist, animal ecologist, nurse and midwife.

“We want to help raise aspirations among primary school children in the Sunshine Coast region by exposing them to some of the vast career and educational choices open to them,” Ms Sanmarco said.

She said almost 80 percent of students who attended last year’s expo either strongly agreed or agreed that the experience made them more interested in attending TAFE or university.

“The expo encourages them not to limit their choices based on gender and to expand their thinking when it comes to what they can do when they finish school.”

The expo is part of a wider program run by USC for Year 4, 5 and 6 students that includes practical career development activities in the classroom.

“These activities aim to help children develop an awareness of their own talents and interests while discovering which skills are necessary for a range of different jobs.”

The EXPLORE program is funded 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 to build aspirations to go on to higher education.

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