Unlocking the potential within: A preliminary study of individual and community outcomes from a university enabling program in rural Australia

Author: Susan Johns, Nicole Crawford, Cherie Hawkins, Lynn Jarvis, Mike Harris and David McCormack, University of Tasmania

Edition: Volume 56, Number 1, April 2016

Summary: Many rural communities have a pool of mature-aged local people seeking a career change or better lifestyle, which inevitably involves reskilling or upskilling. These people have strong local ties and are committed to their community. University enabling programs provide a bridge to higher education. This longitudinal study explores the impact on rural mature-aged people of participation in a university enabling program, in terms of further study and employment outcomes. The benefits of enabling programs extend beyond individuals, to family and friends, and beyond. These broader benefits include an enhanced local skills base in key industry areas, and an increased awareness of the value of higher education within the community. Enabling programs are a powerful but under-valued tool in helping to unlock and harness the potential within rural communities, both in the medium and longer term.

Keywords: educational aspirations, enabling program, outcomes of education, rural education, social inclusion

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This article is part of AJAL, Volume 56_1. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.

Posted in ACE, Journal edition