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Structure: Work Studies F-10 curriculum

The design, organisation and structure of the Work Studies Years 9–10 curriculum provides flexibility for schools to draw on the interests, capabilities and contexts of their students. It allows schools to accommodate school structures and processes, and support middle school approaches to curriculum delivery if appropriate. Work Studies enriches the learning of students who are working and those who are not.

The curriculum is built on two foundations that underpin learning: self-knowledge and understanding the world of work. The Australian Curriculum: Work Studies, Years 9–10 is premised on students learning in applied ways, with work exposure an essential part of the curriculum and emphasising the link between learning and doing.

Knowledge, understanding and applied skills are developed through the general capabilities and core skills and the way they are embedded in the content descriptions and achievement standards.

Applied learning and work exposure are integral elements of the Work Studies curriculum. Statements on these elements help teachers to understand the positioning and significance of each within the curriculum.

The Work Studies Years 9–10 curriculum structure reflects the focus on learning, work and the development of work readiness within two strands: Skills for learning and work, and career and life design. The strands are interrelated, providing flexibility and opportunities for teachers to build their own curriculum, collaborate with teachers from other learning areas and construct integrated units of work incorporating the core and options. The strands build sequentially from Year 9 to Year 10.

Figure 1: Work Studies Years 9–10 organisation diagram

The curriculum consists of a core and options, and is described through content descriptions, and elaborations, achievement standards and content. It concentrates on building the skills needed for effective participation in the 21st century, including broad workplace skills, knowledge about and experience of work and work environments, and lifelong career design skills, knowledge and dispositions.

Options provide flexible frameworks for teachers and students to negotiate extra content relevant to student interests, and school and student circumstances. They are designed to maximise opportunities to connect the curriculum to the reality of students’ lives and engagement with the local communities and regions. This should enhance opportunities for work exposure and self-directed and applied learning.

The order and detail in which the core and options within each year level are taught are programming decisions that schools may determine.

Options may also be taught in either year level. The curriculum may be studied for one year in Year 9 or Year 10 or as a two-year course across Years 9–10. It may also be taught on a semester basis.

To be deemed to have completed Work Studies for a given year level, students need to have studied the core and at least one option. If studied on a semester basis the core for the year and one option must be completed.

Skills for learning and work

This strand focuses on the development of a student’s understanding of self and a realistic appreciation of their individual interests, values, preferences and strengths. Across three sub-strands, the strand encompasses understanding of and managing self, the importance of communication in a range of contexts, working with others, planning and implementing tasks or projects, clarifying problems and proposing solutions and making decisions. It provides for investigation of work skills and entrepreneurial behaviours and their use in learning and work contexts.

Learning to learn

This sub-strand introduces the key concepts of learning as a lifelong activity and its importance for sustaining working life in changing contexts. Lifelong learning is viewed as a personal capacity that is developed through creating awareness of self as a learner, developing the capacities needed to be a successful learner and acknowledging the influence of work, family and community on learning capacities and opportunities.

Work skills

This sub-strand introduces and develops the work skills and attributes needed for 21st century workplaces and that can be transferred from one situation to another. These include the systematic study of a broad range of communication skills, the ways digital technologies are transforming workplaces and the importance of embracing cultural and social diversity.

Entrepreneurial behaviours

This sub-strand introduces the idea of entrepreneurial behaviours. These behaviours are specifically about developing and valuing an entrepreneurial disposition to work including creativity, problem-solving, lateral thinking and using initiative. They are not limited to the narrow view of how to create or run a business.

This sub-strand is underpinned by a need to respond to changes brought about by globalisation, new technologies, the rapidly increasing significance of the Asia region and the need for a sustainable future. Students are exposed to these behaviours and how they might be developed and enacted in workplaces to drive innovation, productivity, global awareness and appreciation of cultural and social diversity.

Career and life design

This strand focuses on developing knowledge and understanding of, and experience in, the world of work; skills, knowledge and dispositions to manage careers; and skills and knowledge in managing transitions. The strand encompasses the importance of education, training and lifelong learning, the global context impacting on work and work opportunities and the personal qualities and attributes, such as awareness of opportunity, adaptability and responsiveness to change, needed to thrive in the 21st century work environment.

Career development and management

This sub-strand embraces the reality that the world of work is changing and that there is no certainty regarding work and career paths. Throughout their lives, students need to be flexible and responsive to changing work and life circumstances. They develop skills that enable them to create career scenarios and prepare for career transitions. This sub-strand links to the ‘Learning to learn’ sub-strand, as the capacity for lifelong learning is intimately connected to managing careers in the 21st century.

The nature of work

This sub-strand further explores the ways in which work is changing. Students analyse opportunities for work and the way it may be organised globally and in communities and explore the importance of work in all its forms to the economy, to communities and to self. Students should also understand the different work arrangements likely to be available to them, and the entitlements, rights and responsibilities that flow from these arrangements.

Gaining and keeping work

This sub-strand focuses on building an awareness of the demands of work including those requiring creation of new ways of working. Students are exposed to the realities of working life including rights and responsibilities, the importance of work cultures, and appropriate behaviours and the dispositions needed for gaining and keeping work such as resilience and flexibility. They engage in strategies for seeking work opportunities, understanding recruitment processes and the importance of networking.

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