September marks the completion of the first year of the ARC project and the research team is pleased to report that the project remains on schedule according to the project timeline and has reached a very active phase of the research.

A pilot study has been conducted at the Townsville FLC (Youth+) and the findings from this pilot have assisted with refining the project methodology to guide research activities at the selected case study sites. The Chief Investigators of the team associated with the qualitative component have visited project sites in WA, NT and Victoria and have commenced the process of data collection. An additional research assistant has been employed to assist with the project activities in Victoria.

A semi-quantitative interview instrument has been developed and translated into a survey monkey tool to enable efficient collection of data to inform the Social Return on Investment (SROI) element of the research design.

As the project moves on, it is inevitable that we will have some changes in relation to project participants so we would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the contribution from David Murray (VDEECD) and Tony Considine (NT Department of Education), and welcome their replacements, Carol Kelly (Executive Director, Student Inclusion and Engagement, VDEECD) and Marion Guppy (Senior Manager for Senior Secondary Education, NT Department of Education).

We look forward to seeing you all at our next meeting due to take place Friday October 3rd at the Lavalla Centre (Paddington, Brisbane) and thank the Youth+ staff for their assistance in facilitating this meeting.

Introducing our new Victorian Research Assistant

Luke Swain completed his Masters of Social Policy in 2013 at the University of Melbourne. During that time he completed an internship at the BSL where he wrote an impressive working paper on how volunteering affected future employment outcomes for young people.

Since completing his Masters, he has been working (with Kitty Te Riele) on two projects at the Victoria Institute at Victoria University. One is funded for the Ian Potter Foundation and explores options for marginalised young people for completing secondary schooling through flexible and/or alternative learning programs. The second project is an evaluation of the Melbourne Citymission Flexible Learning Centres. Luke will be based in Melbourne in his role as research assistant and will assist with the Victorian based case studies.

His role includes setting up fieldwork, interviewing staff, students and parents/carers at each site, preparing and running questionnaire sessions with students, as well as data analysis and data management for these sites.

Acknowledgements

This project is funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage Projects Scheme (LP 130100344)

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