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Developing skills for life and work: accelerating social and emotional learning across South Australia

29 February 2012

The world of work is changing, shifting from industry towards the service and public sectors, science and technology innovations and the ‘knowledge economy’.

The recent global economic slowdown has reduced the number of opportunities available, with young people disproportionately affected. There is now growing concern for a ‘lost’ or ‘untapped’ generation, particularly those young people who are vulnerable or marginalised from learning and work. The world which our young people enter into today is one of uncertainty and risk, and social inequality is cemented as those who cannot count on support networks or resources are disproportionally affected.

Against this backdrop however, the majority of young people in South Australia are thriving. Youth unemployment is low by international standards, and the school system performs well in general. For a significant proportion of young people though, the transition from school to further education and especially to the workplace remains challenging. In 2011, just over half of school leavers aged 15 to 19 in South Australia (51 per cent) were not in full-time education, representing a significant gain on the previous year. Additionally, the percentage of this age group who were not in full-time employment fell from 19 to almost 15 per cent in 2011.

Authors: Lauren Kahn, Bethia McNeil, Robert Patrick, Vicki Sellick, Kate Thompson and Dr Lucas Walsh.

Image: Hermin / Flickr