School of Education

RAVE current research

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

Research team: Erica Smith, Helen Weadon, Annette Foley & 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 looks at how young people do, and could, imagine and navigate pathways related to post-school education, training and employment.

The study examines 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 are interested in the following questions:

  1. Who are the influencers and how do they affect the decisions?
  2. What could change to provide better post-school outcomes for a larger proportion of young people?
  3. 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 socioeconomic 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 will interview key stakeholder groups, institutions and young people (at school and after having left school) in six Victorian communities. It will use the resultant data to develop good practice models for wider applicability, ensuring policy and practice impact.

Updates will be provided on this website.

International projects on apprenticeship

Erica Smith has been leading several projects on apprenticeship, funded by the International Labour Organization (ILO), during 2017-2018. The ILO is a United Nations agency.

For ILO’s Geneva office, a Discussion Paper on the Role of Intermediaries in Apprenticeship Systems. With the high level of ongoing international and national policy interest in apprenticeships, increasing attention is being paid to the role of third-party or intermediary organisations that undertake different roles and responsibilities in some systems. These types of organisations provide a range of services in apprenticeship systems, often focusing on improving the participation of SMEs and enterprises more broadly. Group Training Organisations in Australia are a prime example. However, there is currently no research that examines the different types of organisations involved, the scope of services they provide and the means by which they are funded. Erica Smith has been asked to review literature and current practices, to identify good practices, and to develop a typology of these organisations by type, by the services they provide and by sources of funding.

For ILO’s Jakarta office, Research, Review and Development of a Revised Model of Quality Apprenticeship for Indonesia. This project has involved Erica in interviews with stakeholders in and near Jakarta, and collaboration with ILO staff to produce a new model for apprenticeship in Indonesia, which we presented at a tripartite meeting in Jakarta in September 2017.

For ILO’s Bangkok office, 2017 Research and preparation of chapter for publication on Skills and Future of Work: Strategies for Inclusive Growth in Asia and the Pacific. This project has involved research and analysis on the role of apprenticeships in addressing youth unemployment. Erica presented the results at a forum in Bangkok in October 20017: the Regional Skills Meeting on Skills and the Future of Work: Strategies for an Inclusive Growth in Asia and the Pacific’. The forum consisted of international experts and tripartite participants from six countries. Feedback is being incorporated into a final version which will be disseminated through a book to be prepared by the ILO.

For ILO’s Geneva office, Erica Smith with the assistance of RAVE member Jackie Tuck, is working on a project Collaboration on ILO survey report of national initiatives to promote quality apprenticeships in G20 countries. This research project is on G20 countries’ policy initiatives on apprenticeships. This project involves the analysis of data from a survey sent by the ILO to three respondents in each country, representing government, labour unions and employer bodies. The context for the project can be seen in the G20 Hangzhou communique (item 40) at

Annette Foley's most recent work involves a project funded by Federation University Australia looking at out-of-school VET and ACE programs in the Ballarat and Daylesford region.