A Wagga high school is changing the preconception that school leavers are not prepared for life after school.
Kildare Catholic College Year 10 commerce students are undertaking an independent living activity and were given valuable life skills by an industry expert about the process of rental properties.
Commerce teacher Lindsay Loke said the project asked students to think about how they can support themselves through work and living expenses.
“It’s really about building their responsibilities to understand and manage their life without getting themselves into debt, which is at a record-high in Australia at the moment,” Ms Loke said.
“This is absolutely building their life skills and many are complaining that schools aren’t preparing students for life afterwards.
“We’re also teaching our students to cook healthy meals to ensure the curriculum is practical for them to make use in their everyday lives.”
A report by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in July 2018 showed that Australians owed $45 billion in credit card debt between 2012 and 2017.
The commerce teacher said preparing students for challenges they will face in the future will ensure that they don’t “learn on the run” and fall into traps many Australians are facing today.
“We have a lot of students leave Wagga for university and so we’re helping them to prepare for some challenges they will face, like moving out of home,” Ms Loke said.
“I’ve noticed that it has dawned on many students about the expenses that come with maturing and entering adult stages.”
One of the Year 10 students Ano Matowe, 16, said his mindset about his living arrangements following school have since changed.
“Wednesday really helped to see the rental application process and if you don’t look after the property there are consequences,” he said.
Many are complaining that schools aren’t preparing students for life afterwards.Kildare Catholic College commerce teacher Lindsay Loke
“At first I thought it would be easy to live out of home with friends but after the talk I’ve realised that it’s harder and there can be problems, like if there is damage to the property it could go to court.
“I’ll probably just live with my mum and not move out straight away, so I’ve changed my mind.”
Similarly, 16-year-old Annabelle Crocker was surprised that minor adjustments could damage a property.
“We learnt the terms and conditions of renting a house and the need to take care of a property,” she said.
“One thing I noticed that hanging pictures on the walls, little things that you often don’t think about, need to be thought of because you have to pay money for damages.”
Fitzpatricks head of property management Sonia Greentree, who spoke to the students last week, said many didn’t realise the steps involved in applying for rental properties.
“It’s always hard for somebody to enter the rental market for the first time, without having rental references and so it can take longer to get approved,” she said.
“I talked about the importance of presenting well to a property managers and the owner, as well as the basics like paying on time and looking after the property.
“I also told the students not to be disheartened if they don’t get a property straight away.”
The Fitzpatricks property manager said trends have shown most first-year university students don’t rent until they get to know the area and are more likely to move into share houses in their second year with friends.
“We usually advise first time renters to look at a guarantor, like a parent, who has had a property before to see if they will be happy to go on the lease and look after the property with them,” Ms Greentree said.