Empowering Positive Post-School Transitions
An International Perspective
In 2017 I was invited to speak at the Community Colleges Australian Annual Conference - Community Education: Investing in our future event. I was recently asked to speak on this topic again at the ACFE Learn Local forums in Ararat, Geelong and Footscray.
At these events I spoke on the topic of “Empowering Positive Post-School Transitions”. This topic was drawn from findings from a 2017 HESG International Specialised Skills Institute Fellowship that saw me travel to the USA.
Years of working in the flexible learning sector had convinced me that young people who attended highly supported and holistic education settings often have ‘the wheels fall off’ when they leave, experiencing a very difficult transition to further education and training.
I was interested to learn from best international practice. The Fellowship saw me visiting Harvard, Columbia and UCLA to gain a research perspective on the topic. In addition, I visited 7 practice based programs, including Harlem Childrens Zone, in Harlem, NY; School on Wheels in Skid Row, LA; and violence prevention programs in Chicago, IL.
Key findings from the Fellowship about how to support learner transitions included:
We need to raise aspirations early - we need to expand the viewpoint of the learner, so that they know the ‘ambitious next step’ is for them.
Reducing barriers – we can reduce barriers by pursuing scholarships and utilising mentoring to put in place the financial and emotional support required to ensure smooth transitions.
Taking a ‘society has responsibility’ approach - activate the social justice remit of business and philanthropy.
Utilising partnerships – find partnerships that make the transition smoother for our learners.
The full text can be found in the Fellowship report ‘Empowering Positive Post-School Transitions: The ABCS of ‘College for All’ which can be accessed by clicking on this link.