Career Readiness a focus for BCE Schools

Career Education Project BCEO staff & school representatives: Amanda Paton, Jacqueline Braddon, Tara Flynn, Kym Smart, Marian Wright, Shannon Shalhoub, Cassie Geissmann, Nathan Camilleri, Amanda Schimke & Reuben Chalmers.

Eight Brisbane Catholic Education schools have joined a pilot project to give students an advantage with preparing for their future pathways. 

Called the Career Education Project, schools were evaluated for their career readiness practices, with the overall goal to better prepare students for their lives after school, regardless of their choice of pathway.  

Over 2022, each school administered a survey to a year level and their parents/carers in Term 2, to determine how confident they were about making career-related decisions. These surveys amplified the voice of these families, offering schools quality data to inform decisions about their existing programs. 

In Term 3, each school participated in a Data Dialogue - collaborative conversation between school leaders, program leaders, and students. Schools reflected on their school’s data in their own context, resulting in actionable insights for their community within a new quality framework for career learning.  

Below is a summary of each school’s learnings from 2022 and outcomes for 2023.  

Holy Spirit College, Fitzgibbon 

​In 2022… 

Being the school’s foundation year, Holy Spirit College was enthusiastic to integrate Career Education within their learning program from the very beginning. Year 7 students and parents/carers took part in surveys and the Data Dialogues, with students very clear that they were interested in learning about future opportunities, despite not feeling any pressure to make any decisions at that point in time. They highlighted an interest in visiting employers and businesses of interest to gain first-hand knowledge of what jobs looked like in the real world. They also highlighted how important skills in collaboration, communication, and money management were to them. For school leaders, the importance of stakeholder engagement in career education was evident.  

In 2023… 

Holy Spirit College has created a Career Education Development Committee which includes parent, student, and industry representatives. The goal of this committee is to give input to a holistic career education program across Years 7-12 which will be implemented across 2023. 

Chisholm College, Cornubia 

In 2022… 

Chisholm College’s Career Education program is well-established, however the school’s decision to participate was influenced by the opportunity to gain career readiness data for their Year 10 cohort, and to re-think processes such as work experience programs and SET Planning. During the Data Dialogues, Year 10 students reflected on their desire to learn more practical skills such as communication and financial literacy, with a greater alignment between what they are learning in class to their lives in the future. For the leaders at the table, key insights included the need to re-evaluate communication strategies with College families.  

In 2023… 

Chisholm College aims to expand work experience opportunities, increase their student and parent engagement in career learning, and review how students are prepared to make decisions about senior schooling in Year 10. 

St Benedict’s College, Mango Hill 


In 2022… 

Established in 2013, St Benedict’s College has experienced significant growth in enrolments during a very short period, meaning they have had to scale their programs rapidly. Participating in this project offered welcome opportunities to reflect on where the Career Education program started, and to do a needs analysis of current students. Year 10 students and their parents/carers took part in the survey, and the Data Dialogues, with Year 10 students reflecting on the pressures felt to make decisions about their future in Year 10. For staff and leaders present, this prompted them to consider the types of career exploration students do in Years 7-9, and how to better prepare and support students in Years 10-12.  

In 2023… 

The College’s focus is on communications regarding career learning and reviewing career readiness activities in Years 7-9. 

St Columban’s College, Caboolture 

In 2022… 

As is the case with many Brisbane Catholic Education schools, St Columban’s College also had a long and established Career Education program that has offered diverse opportunities for students to explore career paths post-school. St Columban’s chose to engage their Year 10 cohort and parents with students sharing their desire to learn more about how industries would change in the future, eager to gain more real-world experience in the workplace. Students also highlighted a desire to learn more about the non-linear nature of careers, and the decision-making skills required to change trajectories in the future.  

In 2023… 

St Columban’s College will develop new ways to co-construct career learning opportunities with students, including strategies to engage and educate parents in career learning as they are a key stakeholder in this process. 

Trinity College, Beenleigh 

In 2022… 

Trinity College currently offers an extensive number of VET qualifications to their students and is a member of the Gateway to Industry Schools program. However, the school was interested in gathering data to see how they could build career confidence for all students, not just those involved in VET. The College also engaged their Year 10 students and parents in the data gathering and Data Dialogue process with students sharing their interest in building work-related networks while they were still at school and seeing a greater connection between their school program and future career.  

In 2023... 

Trinity College is planning to engage students in co-construction processes related to career education to offer opportunities to explore workplaces and build networks. Furthermore, how Career Education is delivered in Years 7-9 will be revised.  

Carmel College, Thornlands 

In 2022… 

Carmel College’s motivation to be part of this pilot was to see what new insight student and parent data could give into the way they prepare young people for life after work. Data showed students reflected on the SET Planning process they had just been through, and they proposed new ways they could be supported in the earlier years of high school so that they felt more confident about making decisions (and changing them) over Years 10-12. For the staff, a key learning was the valuable nature of student input.  

In 2023… 

Carmel College will engage students in a working party to re-think the way Career Education is delivered in Years 7-12. The focus will be on pulling together a program that is holistic and integrates with current wellbeing initiatives.  

Unity College, Caloundra 

The only P-12 school included in the project, Unity College offers a range of opportunities for students to explore their own interests and strengths and experience the world of work. The College was interested in learning how they could use data to improve the career readiness of their students and engaged Year 10 students and parents in the survey process. During Data Dialogues, students shared their understanding of non-linear career paths and how supported they felt in being able to change their minds and decisions about the future. For program leaders, the data highlighted their need to make career learning more visible to stakeholders and consider the impacts that the pandemic has had on their current cohort of students.  

In 2023… 

Unity College’s focus is creating an energetic and joyful attitude toward career conversations. They are also evaluating communication methods for students and parents to highlight the career learning that is happening at the College.   

St Thomas More College, Sunnybank 

In 2022… 

St Thomas More College’s primary motivation for getting involved in the project was to see how they could extend career learning to other facets of the school program. The Year 10 cohort and their parents/carers took part in the surveys highlighting a pre-existing priority for the College: the need to engage, inform and support parents in the career planning journey.  

In 2023… ​

Improved engagement, information, and support for parents will be the areas of focus for 2023, along with exploring enterprise learning opportunities and embedding career learning in the curriculum.  

Project Summary 

HSC-1.jpg​Claire Proberts with Holy Spirit College Fitzgibbon student panel

A significant benefit for schools participating in this project was the engagement in a community of practice. School staff came together in Term 4 2022 to share their experiences, create solutions to barriers, and imagine how this community might function in 2023.  

For BCE office staff supporting these school staff, this project has reinforced how crucial quality career learning is for all young people and how significant student voice and co-construction are in learning.  

Furthermore, for Brisbane Catholic Education schools, the project has highlighted that quality career learning can occur in numerous aspects of already existing school processes in addition to a standalone program.  

There is excitement and anticipation for the 2023 outcomes as a result of these insights, with a follow-up to be expected later this year. 

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