School-Industry partnerships must grow – Beacon Foundation welcomes Mitchell Institute report


A new report by Mitchell Institute, called “Connecting the worlds of learning and work” is welcomed by Beacon Foundation, with its findings confirming our experience.

Mitchell Institute’s research focuses on the role that school-industry partnerships play in developing the knowledge, skills and capabilities (including STEM skills) that young people need for the future world of work.

Beacon Foundation has 30 years’ experience of delivering programs aimed directly at helping to build these bridges. Beacon Foundation believes bringing real life relevance into the curriculum is pivotal in helping young people be better prepared for the workforce.

“The Mitchell Institute’s findings confirm our experience”, says Beacon Foundation Chief Executive Scott Harris.

“We welcome the recommendations in the report, and agree that schools can and should be better supported to partner with industry to prepare students for work, and other meaningful pathways.”

The report’s recommendations include: students being encouraged an an earlier age (from primary school) to broaden their careers awareness and aspirations; that there be more opportunities for inquiry based learning; and that Teachers be supported to develop skills to deliver the curriculum in more enriching and innovative ways.

Barriers found include the challenging nature of aligning industry and ‘real world’ issues to single subject curriculum and the additional time and resources needed to develop and grow school-industry partnerships. It found some schools need more support to find and learn how to build partnerships, so that communities that aren’t as connected or rich in relationships can receive the same opportunities as those that are deeply engaged.

The report noted the need for school-industry partnerships to complement, not replace high quality teaching.

Scott Harris says of particular note in the research is the point that these partnerships are important for young people from low socio-economic backgrounds who may lack networks to help them into employment.

“Partnerships between schools, industry and the wider community are not standardised or common in every community. In our experience, this type of education can be piecemeal, or at worst, entirely absent.”

Beacon Foundation believes that given the rapidly changing world of work, it is important that we start to prioritise bringing more relevance into school education and addressing the barriers identified in Mitchell Institute’s report.

Mitchell Institute’s report can be found at: