The concept of the Career Academy began in in the US in 1969 and is essentially centred around preparing students for the transition from academic study to practical education and applied education to achieve real world benefits in the workplace.
Academic studies teach theory and procedures for a wide range of subjects but students who graduate often find the real world working environment very different to what they expected.
Many small business employers are reluctant to take on graduates from university or even those with a vocational certificate after completing a vocational training course because although they have demonstrated the resilience to stick to deadlines and be persistent in their learning they don’t have real world experience.
Who enrols into the Career Academy
The Career Academy is career-related and often include academic courses with work experience related tasks, often perform in conjunction with partnerships with local employers. Since their inception, the career academy practical education process has widened to include
- international students who need a practical, hands-on understanding of local business environments,
- mature aged students who are returning to the workforce and want to understand how the working environment has changed, and
- secondary students who want to better prepare for postsecondary education.
Students enrolling in the career academy pathways understand the value of applied education. They understand that when education is applied to an activity that they need to be resilient and patient while always remain focused on the business goals and clients needs.
Why choose the Career Academy pathways
Small businesses need employees who can jump right in and add value to the organisation immediately. Whereas large accounting and legal firms have systems and processes to manage high achieving university graduates, small businesses don’t and need employees with practical skills.
Students of vocational education organisations like TAFE might have qualifications like a Cert IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping but no practical experience. Employers who we have spoken to explain how some vocational graduates are over-confident just because they have achieved a vocational qualification but that this makes them feel that they should be making the management decisions or sometimes shouldn’t be doing the entry level work.
Many small business owners understand that they need to adapt to the different personalities of the people in their business. This can include their suppliers, staff AND clients and means that they need to be able to constantly adapt depending on their environment.
Small business owners are often the janitor, the customer service representative and the accounts person on any given day and to do this takes an enormous amount of humbleness and integrity – particularly if they want to create the right culture in their business.
It is important to connect at the Career Academy
The thing that we value the most is the connection between education and work, between courses and activities. The connection between students and businesses and we call this Industry Connect.
In the small business market, ever changing software and regulations means that business owners and managers need to constantly learn and adapt. Software developers call this CICD – Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery and it is a principle we apply to our business every week, both internally and when we engage with our students, clients and partners.
This connection with industry enables us to prepare practical activities and assessments that enable our small business partners to provide meaningful input for students on the career academy journey.
When did the Career Academy begin in Australia?
The career academy began in Australia on 31st January 2012 when the Finance and Administration Academy Pty Ltd combined practical inductions for employees looking to perform work using Internet based tools. These tasks included office administration, accounting, technical support and IT support and digital marketing.
At that time the Australian Federal Government made an active push to educate it’s population about the benefits of learning how to use cloud-based technology with the forecast improvement in Internet download speeds resulting from the NBN (National Broadband Network).