A Whole-of-Rural-Community Approach to Supporting Education and Career Pathway Choice
Keywords:Careers advice, post secondary education, rural community education
Rural communities and partnerships are critical in career education, promoting pathways into work and further education and training. Families, teachers, and employers all may influence young people and adults who are considering pathway choices. This research aimed to equip these ‘key influencers’ with the knowledge and confidence to have supportive pathway conversations with rural young people and adults. The focus was not on those needing help with education/career choices, but rather those who influence their decisions. We used a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach in three communities to address the question: How can a whole of community approach best equip key influencers to inform and support rural student post school pathways?
Community working parties were established to work alongside researchers to select, trial and evaluate of whole community, place-based, coordinated career education interventions, which targeted communities’ individual geographic, demographic and employment context. Communities were resourced with a local pathway broker and small budget for interventions. Individual interventions and the overall project approach were evaluated.
Findings suggest that rural community-researcher partnerships can be effective in equipping key influencers with confidence and knowledge to inform and support education/career pathway choices. Community partnerships can take account of community assets and allow for interventions that address community contexts. Partnerships should foster community ownership to deliver education/career pathway information interventions that are flexible, accessible, sustainable, place-based, and authentic. This paper sets out a model for partnerships that effectively equips key influencers in rural communities to support education/career pathway choices.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Sue Kilpatrick, Sarah Fischer, Jessica Woodroffe, Nicoli Barnes, Olivia Groves, Kylie Austin
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