A new Swinburne-led research and impact project, supported by the Victorian Government’s Building Safer Communities Program, will help support positive outcomes for Pasifika youth communities.
Working with the Centre for Multicultural Youth, Swinburne will be the first university in Victoria to lead a university-community research partnership to support secondary school completion rates for Pasifika Islander students and to encourage Pasifika Islander students in further study and work.
Funding for the project was announced at an event on Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus by the Victorian Minister for Crime Prevention, Natalie Hutchins.
Speaking at the event, Swinburne’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Pascale Quester said the project was an excellent example of the collaboration between industry, government, community and research that Swinburne is known for.
“This collaborative approach – working with the community and co-designing solutions – ensures we have the greatest impact,” Professor Quester said.
“It ensures we are creating sustainable solutions that work, not just once, or in one location, but that can be scaled across the state, across the country and beyond.”
Supporting Pasifika youth
Pasifika communities are over represented in the youth justice system and early disengagement from schooling has long been a key risk factor.
This research project aims to engage broadly across research, education, policy and the welfare sector to understand the cultural complexities driving Pasifika youth interactions with Australian educational processes, and co-design sustainable and scalable practice.
The project will work closely with the community to determine positive and negative contributors to life trajectories for secondary Pasifika Islander students and co-create resources and strategies within a cultural framework to assist schools and communities.
Project lead and Chair of Swinburne’s Department of Education, Professor Susanne Garvis, was joined by lecturer and researcher Dr Maryanne Pale at the launch. She said that this ‘ground-up’ approach would support stronger impact in the community and frameworks that that could be replicated across other schools and councils.
“The benefits of this university-community partnership are that we will have a whole society approach to upskill knowledge and understanding to support Pasifika Islander students in secondary schools,” said Professor Garvis.
“The outcomes will help to build capacity within Pasifika communities in Victoria to develop positive life trajectories that are sustainable and long term.”
The launch event was also attended by Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Bronwyn Fox and representatives from the Centre for Multicultural Youth and other local community groups.