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Digital enterprise through the arts

Improving education and employment outcomes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people with disabilities in rural, remote and metropolitan areas of Australia
Regional disparities Arts Creative arts education First Peoples education Vocational education and training People with disability Rural and remote communities Australia

This report documents the findings of a two year national research project funded by the National Research and Data Working Group (NRDWG) through a National Disability Research and Development (NDRD) Grant. 

The research aimed to address the continuing disparity in education and employment outcomes of young people with disabilities, particularly youth who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and those living in regional and remote locations of Australia. 

The project provided young people with disabilities the opportunity to learn new skills and enhance pathways to education and employment by undertaking an accredited Certificate II (Cert. II) in Visual Arts with the support of skilled Vocational Education and Training (VET) teachers and mentors employed to support the participants across each of the seven sites located in metropolitan, regional and remote locations as well as a cohort of participants undertaking the program fully online via distance. 

Key findings 

A total of 87 student participants (youth undertaking the Digital Arts program) were recruited across the six settings for the research. There were 9 participants located in Ernabella in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, South Australia (very remote); 10 participants located in Reservoir, Victoria; 16 participants in Rockhampton, Central Queensland (regional); 11 participants located in Woorabinda, Central Queensland (remote); 10 participants located in Yirrkala in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory (very remote); and 19 participants undertaking the program online, of whom 10 were located in regional locations. Of the 87 participants, 47 (54%) identified as Female, 35 (40%) as Male and 5 (6%) as Gender Fluid. Forty-six (53%) of the participants identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians, and of those, 30 (65%) were located in remote/very remote locations and 10 (22%) in regional areas, with 6 (13%) located in metropolitan areas. 

Findings consider the following:

  • Impact of the program on participants’ sense of achievement and satisfaction with attainment of their goals 
  • Impact of the program on participants’ attitudes to education 
  • Extent to which participants achieved improved attitudes to post-school pathways 
  • Impact of the program on student participants, families/carers and the broader community 
  • Cultural considerations are required to adapt such models to be culturally appropriate in different regional locations 
  • Impact of the program in terms of long term sustainability 

This report is funded with assistance from a funding grant offered under the National Disability Research and Development Agenda, jointly implemented by disability representatives from Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. 

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