Written by Mr Doug Holtam, Principal
The College tagline: ‘Pathways to a purposeful future’ defines an important aspect of our Mission. Recently, the College Leaders gathered together to revisit and explore how we should lead, empower, support and encourage our students to ‘find’ their own post-school pathways in life. The discussions revolved around assisting students to develop career pathway options, providing time, within a ‘busy’ curriculum program, for students to explore their personal passions and develop their individual gifting, as well as considering what a Freshwater graduate ‘toolkit for life’ might include.
Our work led the group to draw on some important research (accessible from : https://www.fya.org.au/report/the-new-work-reality/) regarding the post-school career/work journeys of 14000 young people (aged 15-25) over a ten year period. The research findings reveal that nearly 60% of young Australians aged 25 hold a post-school qualification; however, 50% of them are unable to secure more than 35 hours of work per week. Also, among 18 to 24 year-olds looking for work, 28% reported anxiety in the previous year and more than 40% said they were affected by stress. The report also highlights the critical importance of the following factors in helping young people to secure ongoing purposeful employment: an education that builds enterprise skills; being able to undertake relevant paid work experience; finding employment in a sector which is growing; and an optimistic mindset.
So how might a Freshwater education respond to the current work-scape and provide our children with the foundations they need to take their place in society and lead purposeful lives?
First and foremost, we seek to help our students to understand that they are unique, of inestimable value, made in the image of God with incredible potential, gifting and creativity. The Bible teaches that our value is not dependent on our performance and that we are loved unconditionally. These core truths are conveyed in so much of what we do every day and are important in securing each student in their identity as amazing creations designed by God. From this foundation, we are able to guide our students to seek their own pathways with God’s guidance. In addition to positioning our students to ‘walk with God’, we also seek to equip them with the combination of knowledge, understanding, skills and character that they need to live wisely; a word you don’t often hear much these days, and which some loosely define as: the ‘art of living skilfully’.
Many insightful ideas and thoughts came out of our ‘Blue Sky Day’ exploration of student pathway preparations; of great significance is the notion that we need to introduce a subject or program which intentionally focuses on teaching our young people the principles of wise leadership: firstly, understanding how to lead oneself, which, as I am sure you would agree, is the pre-requisite for leading others. In addition, as we prepare our students for their post-school lives, we need to stop focusing so heavily on asking the question: what do you want to do when you grow up and also ask what I think is a more important question: what sort of a person do you want to be when you grow up? Lastly and most importantly, we need to continue to guide and orient our students to the core truth that God has all of the answers and ultimately we need to pray and seek His direction as we consider our own unique pathways in life.