This thesis investigates the experiences of eighteen young people who completed the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) in 1991 without intending to proceed to university. It examines their reasons for staying at school to complete VCE and their perceptions of the VCE year and its usefulness to them. This study was prompted by current changes in perceptions of the purpose of post compulsory education shown by government drives for high retention rates in Year 12 and moves for vocationally oriented competency based curricula. Such moves have implied a broader definition of VCE than its traditional role as a means of selection into tertiary education. In the light of theses changes it seems important to look at the experiences of the 'new' VCE students, those who in different circumstances, would not have been encouraged to stay on at school. The eighteen young people in this study seemed to fall into three broad categories, or ideal types: those with structured career paths, those with unstructured career paths and those who were 'careerless'. There was a relationship between ideal type classification and the perceived usefulness of VCE. It was clear that membership of these classifications was in no way entrenched and that young people might move from one typology to another depending upon their post VCE experiences. For most of these young people VCE was not enjoyable. For most the orientation was too academic for their perceived needs. It seems likely that broad vocational approaches to curriculum and more opportunities to participate in the 'real' world while at school would be appropriate.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jennifer_bryce/17/