On 14 July 2006 the Pathways Project team hosted a round table discussion at the Hawke Research Institute on the impact and implications of part-time senior secondary study. Invited experts from Victoria and NSW joined with UniSA academics to explore intersections between the Pathways Project and related investigations into current and emerging trends in senior secondary education and the nature of contemporary youth transitions. Visiting researchers participating in the discussion were Lyn Yates (Melbourne), Terri Seddon (Monash), Julie McLeod (Deakin) and Kitty Te Riele (UTS). In addition to the project team, participants from UniSA included Alan Reid, Tom Stehlik and Lew Zipin.
In the first session of the day, participants considered the role of part-time study within the retention–completion nexus. Discussion covered the educational and policy framings of part-time engagement, the intersection of this phenomenon with the youth labour market, and the socioeconomic and gendered dimensions of part-time study.
Discussion in a further session sought to locate part-time study within broader theoretical and contextual frameworks. Participants drew upon the notion of ‘hybrid identities’ to make sense of young people’s multiple positionings within the worlds of family, learning and work. In turn, the concept of ‘extended completion’ was developed to describe patterns of engagement with senior secondary study that increasingly reflect a dispersal of learning across time and space.
The Pathways Project round table represented a significant means of connecting Australian academics committed to the investigation of youth issues in education and beyond. The day provided a collegial and inspiring opportunity to identify opportunities for future investigation and potential collaboration.