THE ENTRANCE PUBLIC SCHOOL CAREER EXPO DAY
Mr CHRIS SPENCE
(The Entrance) [7.17 p.m.]: Last month I was delighted to visit The Entrance Public School's Career Expo Day. The Career Expo Day was a school-wide event providing community leaders, business owners and other agencies with the opportunity to give students a broad introduction into a diverse range of career options. This expo marked the completion of a program called The Real Game, which introduced stage three students to real-life scenarios and equipped them with information to start thinking about what they might like to do in their life, and how they can plan, prepare and set goals. This was an outstanding initiative by The Entrance Public School. Many of the students in this area are from low socioeconomic backgrounds and experience difficulties particularly with employment opportunities. Therefore, the aim of the program was to inspire the students to dream big and harness their potential, to engage the students early in life, encourage them to start thinking about what they can be when they grow up and show them that with hard work and dedication they really can reach their goal.
In conjunction with its "you can do it" school student welfare plan the school piloted a careers booklet during the expo. Students were encouraged to fill out their booklet during the expo with what they liked and disliked about each profession they learnt about and rate their interest in pursuing each profession as a career. As the member for The Entrance I was invited to address rotations of groups of students to tell them about my experiences as a parliamentarian, what my role as a local member involves and how I came to be a member of Parliament. It was good fun to talk to students. They asked a lot of interesting questions such as: Why does everyone in the Chamber yell a lot during question time? Why does Julia Gillard always look so angry in Parliament? It is a true story.
To illustrate how a bill goes through Parliament I used the example of a homework bill—a bill that would mean that teachers would no longer be able to issue homework to students. It comes as no surprise that all the students voted overwhelmingly to pass the homework bill, much to the disbelief of the teachers. It was certainly a bit of fun. It was a great experience and I found the students interested in what it means to be a parliamentarian and to represent an electorate. Both teachers and students genuinely engaged in interactive conversation. I also had the opportunity to tour the school and see what other groups of students were doing. I was impressed to see that a broad range of careers was represented: from firefighters—truck included—to hospitality workers.
It was an invaluable opportunity for students to learn and gain an interest in different career opportunities. I give a special thankyou to Fiona Foley, who worked as part of the careers project team to organise the day for the students and was of tremendous assistance from the moment I arrived at the expo. I to commend the principal of The Entrance Public School, Deborah Hannan, for fostering and encouraging an attitude of learning, and inspiring students to aim high. My best wishes to all of the students of The Entrance Public School for their future learning, especially to those students in year six who will be starting high school next year, and I look forward to the opportunity of visiting the school once again.