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Media releases

Research to shine spotlight on vital retail and hospitality industries

Posted: Wednesday 23 December 2020

A Federation University research project will explore how careers in everyday industries like retail and hospitality can be made more visible.

These industries employ around 20 per cent of the workforce, operating throughout Australia, yet the industries suffer from low prestige, affecting their choice as careers and the future prospects of workers in these industries.

Federation today welcomed $151,679 in Commonwealth funding through the National Careers Institute’s Partnership Grants Program to support the research, which will be led by Professor Erica Smith from the University’s School of Education, Professor Smith said the historically low perception of under-valued industries like retail and hospitality had discouraged people from imagining careers in those sectors.

However, with a better understanding of available careers, young people could be better advised by schools and universities, and workers already in those industries would be able to advance their careers.

The multi-phase research project is a partnership with the University of Queensland and SkillsIQ Skills Service Organisation and will continue until mid-2022.

This research grant was one of only 13 awarded from 600 applications and is very timely as the COVID-19 crisis has shown just how vital the retail sector can be to the Australian public.

Quotes attributable to Federation University School of Education, Professor Erica Smith:

“The global pandemic has shown how vital retail is to the Australian public, and the hospitality and tourism industries now need talented people to help them re-build.”

“This funding will enable us to improve the careers advice given to young people, and help the families and carers assisting them.”

“We are delighted that Federation University has been awarded this funding as it builds on our existing research into work in undervalued jobs and into young people’s career paths.”

“Grants like this provide us with an opportunity to influence policy and practice affecting all Australians.”

“Our research into careers in undervalued industries will play a significant role in improving the status of jobs in essential industries like retail and hospitality, which have been so crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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