Four Melton schools will be among the first in the state to experience a new initiative aimed at better preparing students for future apprenticeships.

The Head Start initiative helps students thinking about undertaking an apprenticeship to start working towards that while still completing their VCE or VCAL studies.

The initiative will launch at Melton Secondary College, Melton Specialist School, Staughton College and Kurunjang Secondary College.

The program means students can stay at school an extra year to finish their VCAL or VCE and their apprenticeships while spending more time doing paid, on-the-job training.

Local MP Steve McGhie said keeping students in school for as long as possible, while giving them more options for their futures, was a positive for the region.

“The Education State is making sure all students are supported to get a great education, stay in school and learn the skills they need for the future,” Mr McGhie said.

“This fantastic initiative will give more students across the state the support and skills they need to succeed in their chosen career and in life.”

Schools will get additional support and funding to help run Head Start, including a school-based Head Start co-ordinator to help deliver the initiative, providing employment and vocational pathway advice and one-on-one support to students.

The 2018-19 state budget provided $49.8 million to deliver Head Start, alongside $109 million to overhaul secondary school career education and $26 million to enhance vocational education in schools.

The Head Start initiative will provide apprenticeships targeted at priority industries and traditional trades such as construction, defence and health. Enterprise apprenticeships and traineeships will be developed to target high technology areas needed for high demand future jobs, such as coding in the information technology field.