High school leavers need more support with transition to workforce: Murdoch Professors

March 8, 2018

Professor Barry Down at Murdoch University hopes the new book he has co-authored will help adults better understand the challenges young people face when they finish high school.

Murdoch University School of Education researchers have co-authored a book, which they hope will help to improve school-to-work transitions for young people.

The book, entitled: "Rethinking school-to-work transitions in Australia: Young people have something to say", identifies 16 key conditions which can support young people as they negotiate their way into the adult world of work.

Professor Barry Down and Dr Janean Robinson from Murdoch’s School of Education, in collaboration with Professor John Smyth from Huddersfield University in the United Kingdom, spent 18 months tracking the experiences of 32  students in Rockingham, WA, studying in Years 10-12.

Professor Down said when writing the book, the authors focused on the views of young people as a means of generating fresh thinking about the complex issues that affected them, such as student disengagement and youth unemployment.

“Currently far too many young people are leaving school early or without the knowledge, skills and capabilities to undertake the next step in life,” Professor Down said.

“This is a major concern for students themselves, their families, communities and governments at all levels. It’s a worldwide issue.”

Whilst carrying out this research, Professor Down found that young people required far more support in preparing for life after school than they currently received.

“They want to be better prepared for life rather than simply passing exams,” he said.

“Once they left school, many young people floundered because they lacked practical support in terms of money, transport and assistance in negotiating with government departments, educational institutions and agencies.”

While there were no quick-fix solutions uncovered during the research, those interviewed offered some important insights into the optimal conditions for improving their learning and future life chances.

“We found that young people’s engagement in learning and their life chances were significantly enhanced when policies and practices focused on relationships, their needs and interests, relevant and rigorous curriculum – in and out of school learning,” said Professor Down.

“Above all, we concluded that school can only do so much. They cannot solve the problems of the economy, especially the erosion of full-time, secure and well-paid work – this requires a commitment at all levels of government and business to support young people – practically, intellectually and financially.”

The publication was published with funding from Australian Research Council ‘Linkage’ Project, and was the result of collaboration between more than 17 partners including schools, community groups, local government, the Department of Education, industry and universities.

 "Rethinking school-to-work transitions in Australia: Young people have something to say" is available for purchase via this link

Media enquiries: Paige Berdal 9360 6742 / paige.berdal@murdoch.edu.au

Print This Post Print This Post

Leave a comment

You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published.

Thanks for commenting!