We partner with government, industry, and the not-for-profit sectors to lead applied and research-based activities that are fundamentally framed by the agenda set by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Announced by the UN General Assembly in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals are a set of 17 goals and 169 targets that are intended to provide a roadmap for global action across the 15 years to 2030. SDGs 4, 5 and 8 are particularly relevant to the work that we do:
Goal 4: Quality Education for All – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Goal 5: Gender Equality – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth – Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
There are a range of targets collected under SDG 4, ‘Quality Education for All’, and targets 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5 are particularly relevant to the work that we do:
4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university;
4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship; and
4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.
The applied research and programs that we deliver are aligned with a range of targets falling under SDG 5, ‘Gender Equality’. These targets include, but are not limited to:
5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere;
5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life; and
5.B Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.
Under SDG 8, ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’, the work that we do maps onto the following targets in particular:
8.2 Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors;
8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value; and
8.6 By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training.
The SDGs promote a transformative vision of a world free of poverty, violence, disease and want, a world ‘where all life can thrive’. However, in devising the SDGs, the UN General Assembly noted that there are ‘immense challenges to sustainable development’. While poverty, gender and economic inequality, unemployment and humanitarian crises continue to limit the prospects for sustainable and inclusive development, the UN GA suggests that ‘climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and its adverse impacts undermine the ability of all countries to achieve sustainable development…the survival of many societies, and of the biological support systems of the planet, is at risk’.
With these challenges in mind, and with a sense that ‘business-as-usual’ is not an option in times of crisis and disruption, our work is focused on an applied program of research in the following areas:
1. Young people, 21st Century capabilities, and transitions in the future of work. This connects with the work that we are conducting elsewhere in investigating Art Based Social Enterprises and Marginalised Young People’s Transitions;
2. Building a networked approach to enabling and capturing social value in learning and training;
3. Exploring educational ecologies of well-being, resilience, and enterprise. This connects with the work that we are doing elsewhere in exploring critical understandings of young people’s well-being, resilience and enterprise in the Anthropocene.