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Podcast – Peter Kelly Argues That Bold Plans Needed for Australia’s Young People

CampusReview: Wade Zaglas and Professor Peter Kelly

Bold plans needed for Australia’s young people: Professor Peter Kelly – Campus review Podcast

An education and wellbeing expert is concerned that the future for young people will be as challenging, if not more so, than what they experienced after the Global Financial Crisis. For Professor Peter Kelly at RMIT’s School of Education, this is a consequence of years of employment instability, poor work conditions and “predatory business behaviours” and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Peter Kelly says, young people are more vulnerable “largely because the sorts of work young people do”. This includes hospitality, retail and gig work. 

But In his interview with Campus Review, Professor Kelly mentioned that it’s not just the financial situation young people may find concerning: he described the current period as a sort of “existential crisis”, a time when many vulnerable young people are asking: “What does life look like next?”

“They are trying to map out the next stage of their lives,” Professor Kelly said, “and are also seeking all those things that mark an adult life – independence, autonomy.”
Kelly has criticised the governments and peak bodies for focussing too narrowly on skills and training, something the academic argues young people already have. The academic is leading a project in Melbourne’s inner north called COVID-19 and Young People’s Well-being, Education, Training and Employment Pathways: Co-designing Scenarios for Young People’s Sustainable Futures.

Th project seeks to look at what “recovery” looks like for vulnerable young people in the short, medium and longer term, and help them map out the next stages of their lives in broad, critical and sometimes provocative ways.

“We’re particularly interested ion those populations who are already vulnerable,” he said, adding that “they didn’t have to have a mental illness to be considered vulnerable.”

By Peter Kelly

I lead the UNESCO UNEVOC Centre in the School of Education at RMIT University.

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