A ground-breaking Victorian school program which allows primary students to engage in a hands-on learning curriculum was awarded the 2011 Group Training Australia Partnership Award at the Career Development Association of Australia Conference in Cairns in April. The Primary Technical Schools Program, a partnership between WORKCO, the largest provider of employment and training services in Victoria’s Wimmera and Grampians regions, and Horsham Primary School, gives Years 5 and 6 students the opportunity to gain practical experience in technical and trade-based areas in the school curriculum through hands-on learning, visits by guest speakers and industry tours. Horsham Primary School’s Keryn Ackland said the program allows students to explore several careers early in their schooling. ‘Children’s early experiences infl uence their later life chances. Career education needs to begin in primary school. We need to raise expectations, broaden horizons and develop selfbelief that anything is possible,’ she said. Following a successful pilot program in 2010, the program is now a key part of the school’s strategic goals, curriculum and timetabling.