TAFE Pathways spans outreach, access and support, offering multiple touch points for TAFE students to engage and prepare for a transition to university
University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the Sydney Institute of TAFE (SIT) NSW collaborate through the TAFE Pathways Program to strengthen and promote ‘TAFE-to-University’ pathway options for non-school leavers. TAFE Pathways spans outreach, access and support, offering multiple touch points for TAFE students to engage and prepare for a transition to university.
The program delivers TAFE student outreach in targeted areas including Certificate IV Tertiary Preparation, and provides advice around Tertiary Admissions Centre application processes, non-school leaver entry rankings, and available financial, personal and academic support. The outreach activities are informed by UTS first year student research that identified a lack of knowledge around applying to university, and anxieties in relation to academic requirements and preparedness for study.
Outreach activities are supported by academic and professional staff, along with UTS Pathway students who have graduated with similar TAFE qualifications, who share their experience of transitioning from TAFE to UTS.
TAFE students are offered a scholarship to participate in the newly launched Maths Bridging short course, devised to assist students transitioning from the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector to engineering and science courses.
The TAFE Pathways program aims to widen access pathways and increase the participation, retention and success of VET Pathway students, particularly those from LSES backgrounds. The project also has potential to increase the overall number of students entering UTS in targeted priority areas such as science.
The UTS TAFE Pathways program, including staffing, program development, scholarships and faculty-specific work, has been funded through the university’s HEPPP allocation, along with additional funding through the Bridges to Higher Education.
The success of the TAFE Pathways Program is currently measured through direct student feedback collected at each session. In 2013 approximately 300 TAFE students have participated in the outreach sessions, with feedback collected from over 250 students. Ninety six per cent of students agreed that they have a greater awareness of what university offers and pathways to university following campus visits.
Qualitative feedback from both students and staff has been overwhelmingly positive, including:
“Bringing a student along was a great addition to the presentation. He made my goals seem more attainable and realistic.” – student.
“I felt it was the first opportunity I’ve had to properly engage with them [students] on an individual level about their aspirations, fears and challenges. It was great!” – staff.
Work will continue to be monitored through feedback and analysis of admission, retention and success data, as well as the Bridges to Higher Education Evaluation.
In 2014 the TAFE Pathways Program will expand to include UTS campus events and support programs for students. Continuing effort will be directed to increasing articulation and credit recognition for students seeking entry as non-school leavers.