More than Canadians, Australian youth value flexibility over predictability - photo by Martin Dee
UBC Reports | Vol. 51 | No. 11 | Nov. 3, 2005
How do B.C. Youth Compare with Australian Counterparts?
Both B.C. and Australian youth view post-secondary education as the norm and a vital investment for their future. However, unlike Canadians, Australian young people show greater ambivalence about the value of their education and are more likely to be part-time students.
UBC Education Prof. Lesley Andres and Australian youth scholar Johanna Wyn are conducting the first comparative study of Canadian and Australian young adults. They will explore how the two countries’ educational and labour market policies shape and impact the lives of young people.
Wyn is the Director of the Youth Research Centre at Faculty of Education, University of Melbourne. Her project, Life Patterns tracks 14 years in the life of 2,000 individuals between 1991 and 2004. Participants are from Australia’s southern state of Victoria, which has a population of four million.
Wyn and Andres developed their projects independently, but are finding striking parallels given that Canada and Australia are both Pacific Rim nations with multi-ethnic societies. As former British colonies, they share similar traditions, educational and political systems.
“For both countries, there are clear class-based patterns in young people’s employment patterns,” says Wyn.
As for the differences, Wyn says that when it comes to security, Australian youth -- more so than Canadians -- value flexibility over predictability.
“The Australian data shows that this generation strives to achieve a balance in life between employment and other life interests. They believe that their own personal development is crucial to their success.”