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Transition & Work


Can you go to university after leaving care?


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A recently released report about the prospects for young care leavers who may aspire to go to university finds that a big change in attitudes is needed if more young people in this category are going to study at the tertiary level.

The report Out of care, into university: Raising higher education access and achievement of care leavers is the result of work by researchers at La Trobe University, and was funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education at Curtin University. It comes with a long string of recommendations for improving the lot of young people leaving care who want to study, but the three key messages are:

  • The need for collection of consistent data on higher education access and outcomes (currently the issue of care leavers accessing university is ‘out of sight, out of mind’).
  • The need for reform of policy and greater recognition of the problems faced by care leavers.
  • The need for cultural change: the researchers found that this group is ‘underestimated and overlooked by others’, and the problems are worse for Indigenous care leavers.

The researchers hope that by highlighting the problems for care leavers who want to study they will be creating the right environment in which to develop a national agenda to improve the situation for them.

This group is not a small one. Around 40,000 young people require out-of-home care in Australia and this figure has risen each year over the past decade. So there are large numbers of young people leaving care who could potentially benefit from tertiary education, but who are being denied this opportunity as very few care leavers currently go on to study at university.

This 59-page report is important if you work with young people in transition, or in any type of care arrangement. Access the report here.

Source:Youth Coalition of the ACT website, viewed 16 June 2023.

Unpaid internships a concern for young jobseekers


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A story that went to air on ABC Radio’s PM program on 17 June highlights the issues associated with unpaid internships among young jobseekers.

Given the high youth unemployment rate in Australia, many young people, including university graduates, are undertaking unpaid internships in the hope that they will lead to paid employment.

However, the PM story notes that ‘unpaid internships are sometimes unregulated and even illegal, requiring students to work long hours for nothing’.

The story reports on the experiences of two former interns, Professor Andrew Stewart from the University of Adelaide (who wrote a report on unpaid internships for the Fair Work Ombudsman), and Colleen Chen, a young woman who founded the support and advocacy organisation Interns Australia after her experience as an unpaid intern at a publishing company.

Click here for audio and a transcript of the PM story.

Source:ABC Radio, PM, 17 June 2023

Support for students on the autism spectrum entering tertiary education


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The National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) program has produced a new resource to help young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) make successful transitions into tertiary education.

The transition to university or TAFE is full of challenges for every new student, but presents particular challenges to those with ASD. Many students with ASD end up disengaged from post-secondary education because they did not receive timely and appropriate levels of support.

This new resource aims to help meet the needs of these students. Called How to transition to tertiary education: Helpful hints for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, it includes chapters on ‘awareness of yourself and others’, ‘knowing your strengths’, ‘familiarising yourself with the campus’, ‘organising your study’, ‘finding key people who can help you’ and ‘managing stress and anxiety’.

The free resource is available in short form (21 pages), and a longer form (67 pages) which includes case studies and links to additional resources. Both forms of the document are available in Word or PDF format.

How to transition to tertiary education was launched at the ‘Future Directions: Exploring the opportunities for success in further education and employment for people on the autism spectrum’ conference held in Hobart this month. This conference featured keynote speeches by Chris Varney, Director of the I Can Network, an organisation dedicated to driving a positive rethink of the Autism Spectrum among young people and the community; and Dr Marita Falkmer, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism CRC), who spoke about research into current and ideal transition planning processes for young people with ASD.

Visit the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training for further information to view and download the How to transition to tertiary education resource.

Source:ADCET website, 18 June 2023

New organisation to help disadvantaged youth find work


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A Melbourne entrepreneur has set up a specialist youth employment academy to help young disadvantaged Australians transition from study to work and then go on to successful careers.

The Fingerprint Me Youth Employment Academy offers ‘evidence-based intensive programs’ aimed at assisting young people into the world of work, and also offers scholarships to support disadvantaged young Australians aged 15 to 25-years-old through its new FM Foundation. The organisation’s vision is: ‘To create a society without youth unemployment’, and its mission is: ‘To help young people create a future that works’.

The driving force behind the Fingerprint Me Youth Employment Academy and its not-for-profit arm, the FM Foundation, is Peter Coronica, an entrepreneur based in Melbourne who has a passion for helping young people who are struggling to find their way in the work marketplace.

The academy includes two programs: the My Fingerprint Profile program is a short online course using an industry skills matrix to point young people in the direction of the most suitable in demand career. The second, known as Scope, helps 15 to 24-year-olds establish a career path following seven stages of preparation and training.

The FM Foundation offers scholarships to assist young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and application forms can be found on the Fingerprint Me website.

To visit the Fingerprint Me Youth Employment Academy website, click here.

To read a ProBono article about the academy, click here.

Source:ProBono, 22 June 2023.