Hedland Senior High School principal John Burke has toasted the success of his Year 12 students after they earned top spot on a table ranking schools’ achievement in vocational education and training for 2012.
Hedland SHS was equal first with nine other schools after all 30 of its vocational students graduated with at least one qualification.
It was the first time the school had achieved such a feat.
“We’re over the moon,” Mr Burke said.
“We had 30 kids who had a crack at a cert II or a cert III and all of those kids achieved the certificate that they attempted.”
Mr Burke said the success could be attributed to staff, parents and students working in collaboration to find courses which met each student’s specific goals and needs.
“Where we’ve hit the money this year is that all the kids that were enrolled in a cert II were in the right pathway for themselves,” he said. “So rather than being in things that didn’t quite fit they’ve been in programs that have met their needs and done terrifically well off the back of that.”
Mr Burke said though interest in automotive and hospitality certificates was still high, many students had completed a certificate II in sport and recreation. These had helped most of them get jobs at the local aquatic and recreation centres, as well as provide a path to further study.
The students worked towards their certificates through the Kicking Goals program run by the West Coast Eagles in conjunction with Swan Districts Football Club and BHP Billiton.
Mr Burke said the dux of the vocational course, Lauren Matthews, had just started her train-driving apprenticeship with BHP Billiton Iron Ore.
He added that the opening of a trade training centre at the school in the second half of 2013 would further strengthen training options.
“This will have a lot of course offerings in metal fabrication etc, relevant to the mining industry,” Mr Burke said.
The proportion of Year 11 and 12 students taking vocational courses across private and public schools has expanded rapidly in WA from just 3 per cent when they were first introduced in 1997 to about 40 per cent in 2012.
The majority of students who complete vocational qualifications attend public schools.
Education Department Statewide services assistant executive director Martin Clery said one reason for the big increase in the number of students opting for VET courses was the raising of the school-leaving age to 17.
In recent years, schools had placed more emphasis on students achieving a qualification of certificate II level or higher, because that provided a stepping stone to further study or meaningful employment.