Working lives: trade and bachelor graduates ten years on

30 Apr 2010

The aim of the project was to investigate the work, skill and benefit (WSB) trajectories experienced over ten years of skilled workers who completed their initial trade and bachelor degree qualifications at RMIT between 1994 and 1996.


Understanding WSB trajectories has significance for theory and policy on skilled worker retention, careers advice to youth and lifelong learning provision.

Two questions underpinned the design and formation of the Working Lives project, each relating to issues of skill shortages and the public and private value accorded to different types of qualifications and occupations. The first question asks: where do initial qualifications of young skilled workers (trade apprentices and degree graduates) take them over the first ten years of working life? The second question asks whether the experiences of the two groups are substantially different – and if so, how and why.

The study provides a detailed and dynamic portrait of the ways in which qualified workers find employment, seek promotion, develop additional skills, tailor their careers, and in general derive a range of benefits from their education or training. It also identifies the factors, motivations and critical events influencing the decisions of participants in their respective careers (Fehring, Malley & Robinson 2008).

This research was supported by the Australian Research Council and conducted by a team of researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT) in collaboration with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), the SKILLED Group and RMIT University. Thanks to Chris Warne at DEECD for document production.

Authors: Stage 1 & 2 report: Heather Fehring, Jeff Malley & Lyn Robinson, RMIT
Stage 3 report: Heather Fehring, Jeff Malley & Katherine Herring, RMIT;ID=0rmaoy8jxuwwz

Authored by Heather Fehring, Jeff Malley, Lyn Robinson and Katherine Herring.

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