In increasingly technology‐rich and globally competitive job markets, pathways to employment can be challenging  for many young people.

The transition from school to work is a period when too many young people fall through the cracks. One in four young people don’t complete school by age 19, and by age 24 a quarter are disengaged from education and employment. There are clear implications for education policy in improving supports for young people as they transition from school to work. For this Inquiry, we recommend focus on two key areas:

1. A renewed focus on cultivating young people’s broader capabilities must be a priority for education systems.

Measurements of gain in school should reflect the development of broader learning outcomes to support students in their pathways beyond school. The performance of the nation’s economy rests heavily on a workforce of individuals who can draw on capabilities like critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and interpersonal skills to drive growth and innovation. Yet in traditional approaches to schooling, these capabilities are not always prioritised, valued or measured.

2. Fair & equitable access to tertiary study – in higher education or VET – is critical for supporting students in post‐school education and training.

Improving access to tertiary courses serves both individuals and the broader economy. Young people with low educational attainment face significant challenges in current labour markets, as tertiary qualifications are becoming a baseline requirement for entry to many jobs . Increasing tertiary participation is also a necessity to drive economic growth and innovation – with the vast majority of projected employment growth requiring qualifications beyond school.