Higher education careers advice for low SES students
Higher education careers advice for low SES students, including low SES Indigenous students and low SES regional, rural and remote students
Kylie Austin, Sarah O’Shea and Steph Musgrave (University of Wollongong)
The University of Wollongong, in partnership with five universities including the University of Tasmania, Macquarie University, University of New South Wales, Australian Catholic University and the University of Canberra have been successful in Theme 2 of the competitive grants, which has the goal of improving higher education careers advice for low socioeconomic status (SES) students, including low SES Indigenous students and low SES regional, rural and remote students.
The project responds to recent national reports (2019 HESP Report, Grattan Report 2018, Halsey Report 2017, Joyce Review 2019 and the Mitchell Report 2018) to examine how higher education institutions can play a more defined role in providing career-related advice to prospective students. Subsequently, the project will consider how careers advice can be expanded beyond the more traditional counselling or school advisor roles and will also develop a set of best practice principles that would guide innovative delivery of such to school and non-school leavers. Over the course of the project the following will be achieved:
- In-depth qualitative research with students from a range of backgrounds to map out their career decision-making trajectory. Utilising focus group and interview methodology, the project will work with students to reflectively “map” the key stages of this decision-making trajectory.
- An international literature review will be undertaken that explores best practise in the field to develop a series of resources and recommendations that would underpin approaches that target key influencers (including parents and teachers) of students. These approaches would be trialled at different locations with various stakeholders to measure their impact and applicability across the sector.
- Trials will take place over three states and one territory, led by members of the project team who have extensive research and practitioner experience in widening participation and career development learning. The trials will evaluate a suite of activities that aim to work with university staff, university student leaders, parents, teachers, careers advisors and students to underpin student decision making and enable successful pathways into higher education.
The outcome of the project will result in the development of a guide to partnerships and best practice principles that will improve higher education careers advice for low SES students, including low SES Indigenous students and low SES regional, rural and remote students at a national level. Such a comprehensive and coordinated approach to career advice will not only successfully engage the individual learner, through a students as partners approach, but will also leverage the key influencers within a young person’s or adult student’s environment, ensuring these students have access to career advice from a diversity of sources and perspectives.