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New research will provide evidence of pathways taken

Posted by Community Colleges NZ on 31 August 2015 | 0 Comments

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New research being conducted by the Collaborative for Research and Training in Youth Health and Development and supported by Community Colleges New Zealand, Unitec, the YMCA, and Ako Aotearoa will provide evidence of the longer-term pathways for young people who have been students on the Government’s fees-free Youth Guarantee programme.

The longitudinal study involves interviews with a cohort of students from three programme providers - Community Colleges New Zealand, Unitec and the YMCA – at several stages (entry, at graduation from their programme of study, and on four occasions post-graduation). Interview responses will be used to provide qualitative analysis of the pathways taken by the cohort.

Participants are asked a range of questions including whether they have progressed to further study, gained employment, have improved mental health and have remained out of the criminal justice system.

It will also provide information about the educational pathways and employment of participants who have been clients of agencies such as Child, Youth and Family.

"This research is very timely in the light of the recently-released report by the Children’s Commissioner that reported little or no tracking for the thousand or so young people who exit the Child, Youth and Family service each year,” says Research Project Manager Virginia Archer.

“We know there will be evidence of where some of those young people are ending up within our research, and it will be very interesting to see how prevalent they are within the fees-free Youth Guarantee education sector. This kind of data is not currently available and will provide clear, research-based information that can inform a wide range of policy initiatives in the education and social development sectors.

“We need to know if the work we are doing with fees-free Youth Guarantee is serving the needs of our students, particularly the five per cent of our students who are the most vulnerable and who will potentially cost the country the most if they end up in prison or as another long-term unemployed statistic.

“This is a vital piece of research that the Government and New Zealanders as a whole need, especially given the amount of public funds that have been invested in the Youth Guarantee programme.”

The first round of student interviews has been completed and a set of interim results will be publicly available next year. The project will be completed in 2019.

“We have the funding and ‘in kind’ services needed to implement the research project through to 2017 and we are looking to the Government and other potential funding sources for the money we need to complete the work required from 2017-2019.”

Pictured: Virginia Archer, Research Project Manager and Manager Community College Marlborough.