A Case Study on the implemention of CTS Career Connections at Croxton School
About CTS Career Connections
The CTS Career Connections Talent Community is an online portal for specialist school students and staff and other stakeholders across Melbourne’s North West. The portal provides members with access to features including a list of current entry level jobs, useful links, and a noticeboard with information, events and news from the region.
Rationale for Career Connections
The CTS Career Connections Talent Community supports the aim of CTS to improve post school outcomes for young people with a disability who attend a specialist school into further education, training, employment and community participation in the following ways:
- Employability: members are able to search and apply for open employment opportunities and participation in the workforce
- Information about further education and training, open employment and community participation is available through the noticeboard and useful link functions
- CTS has mapped the use of the CTS Career Connections Talent Community to the Victorian Careers Curriculum Framework
The CTS Career Connections Talent Community was launched in July 2015. The launch included a training workshop to introduce attendees to the range of functions on the portal, including how to join, search and apply for current employment opportunities and utilise the AirCV function. A workbook was developed to support users in accessing and using the portal.
Implementation at Croxton School
In 2016 Croxton School agreed to teach a unit about the CTS Career Connections Talent Community with students in its year 10 PreCAL class. The school worked with CTS to develop a unit of work encompassing career development concepts and an introduction to the portal. CTS delivered the unit, with classroom support from the classroom teacher.
At the conclusion of the unit in 2016, CTS met with the school to reflect on its implementation. A number of learnings were identified:
- School organisation is important to the success of the process. The Online Services Assessment provided important information about the portal for the school administration. Processes about providing students with email accounts needed to be developed and approved at the school.
- Student learning about ICT needs to be scaffolded to prepare them for registering and using the portal. Basic skills needed include navigating to a specific URL, accessing and operating an email account and remembering passwords. The school also identified a need to be more proactive in teaching about responsible use of technology (digital citizenship) and cyber safety.
- Students identified in classroom discussions that they are engaged with social media out of school
- Students are engaged and enthusiastic about learning ICT
In 2017, the school requested CTS support to repeat the unit, using the learnings from 2016 to improve the processes and expand the scope of the content being taught.
- Focused on career development – students were able to identify their career goals and discuss their interests, skills and values. All students worked on Career Action Plans before starting the unit.
- The school included the ICT team in the development and delivery of the unit.
- The school did not assume student skills before starting the unit. The students practiced the basics – remembering passwords, opening emails and logging on before introducing the portal.
- The school partnered with Enable Social Enterprises in Broadmeadows to integrate the use of the portal in their Intern Program. This provided students with workplace learning opportunities in a real industry environment. To support learning outcomes, Enable posted an exclusive job vacancy and position description on the portal so that students could submit an authentic application and CV.
Feedback from students:
An evaluation of the 2017 implementation was conducted with the students in term 3. Only one of the students had used an online tool to search for jobs before they were introduced to the portal.
The students said that they enjoyed using the website, especially looking up jobs that were available in their suburb. Majority of the students said that setting up an email account and remembering the passwords was a difficult aspect of using the portal.
Feedback from the school:
The program from its first to second trial proved to be a great success. After recognising what was required to develop the students IT skills in 2016, the students flourished in resume writing and interview preparation, developing valuable online job application skills.
The group gained a skill set and progressed through the work in Pre-CAL into the Croxton VCAL program while also being work ready. Croxton School hopes to continue the program with the assistance of CTS in 2018.
Julie McKay from Enable Social Enterprises said “when it comes to employability focussed initiatives, collaborative approaches (such as Career Connections) brings together Specialist Schools, Social Enterprise and local community services and this can unleash great benefits and outcomes for students to help improve job prospects.”
To read about how CTS Career Connections can be used by students, families, school and employers, click here.
To become a member of the CTS Career Connections Talent Community, click here.