Australian young people: their stories, their families and post-school plans

23 May 2007

This study undertaken for The Smith Family by the Australian Council for Educational Research is the fifth in a series of reports on the challenges faced by Learning for Life students in making successful post-school transitions.

‘Australian Young People: their stories, their families and post-school plans’ was undertaken by Australian Council for Educational Research for The Smith Family to extend the findings of its report released in 2006 entitled ‘On track? Students choosing a career’, which identified uncertainties about how and to what extent family expectations shape young people’s educational plans, in particular their plans for transition from school to tertiary education, training or work.

Narrative oriented interviews aimed to enhance the survey findings of ‘On track?’ by exploring young people’s stories in depth. On advice from The Smith Family, ten ‘achievers’ from the Learning for Life program were interviewed and also nine of their family members (seven mothers, one father and one older sibling). An ‘achiever’ was defined as a young person who had made a positive start towards achieving post-school goals. This might be a pathway from Year 12 to university, or from Year 10 to an apprenticeship or on-going employment.

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