Young futures: Education, Training and employment decision making in non-metropolitan areas

Research team: Erica Smith and Annette Foley, with assistance from Helen Weadon and Tim Harrison

This project was funded by the Department of Education and Training (DET) Victoria as a Strategic Research Seed Funding Pilot 2018-19. It looked at how young people do, and could, imagine and navigate pathways related to post-school education, training and employment.

The study examined the processes young people in rural, regional and peri-urban areas go through as they make choices about their post-school trajectories, and will develop good practice models for communities, employers and education providers to support them. We were interested in the following questions:

  1. How do young people navigate decisions related to post school education, training and work, and what decisions do they make?
  2. Who are the influencers and how do they affect the decisions?
  3. What could change to provide better post school outcomes for a larger proportion of young people?
  4. What could change for communities and employers to better utilise young people's talents?

Rationale: Young people in regional, rural and peri-urban communities face particular challenges in 'imagining' and navigating their post-school futures. In particular geographical areas, choices may be constrained by economic dislocation, distance, and community or cultural issues. These locational factors may be compounded by individual disadvantage caused by low socio-economic status, aboriginality or recent migrant/refugee status. Communities also suffer if they are not fully utilising the considerable resource available in their young people.

Method: Building on a successfully completed pilot project in Western Victoria, the team interviewed key stakeholder groups, institutions and young people (at school and after having left school) in six Victorian communities. It is using the resultant data to develop good practice models for wider applicability, ensuring policy and practice impact.

The research field work concluded in May 2019 and is described in the following links. Feedback visits and data analysis are continuing.

View the Executive Summary of the project (docx, 128kb)

An overview of the findings has been published in ‘Research Today’ April  2020, pages 5-7