Research Programme on Education Employment Linkages

About EEL

The Education Employment Linkages research programme began on 1 July 2007, funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, which became the Ministry of Science and Innovation and is now part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. The programme finished on 30 September 2012.

The aim of the research programme was to answer the question:

How can support systems best help young New Zealanders make good education employment linkages to benefit themselves, their communities, and the national economy?

The research was led by four senior researchers, drawn from four academic disciplines and with primary responsibility for a particular stream within the integrated research design:

  • Dr Karen Vaughan (Education, leading the school-communities stream)
  • Dr Jane Higgins (Sociology, leading the regional communities stream)
  • Dr Hazel Phillips (Indigenous Studies, leading the Māori and Pasifika communities stream)
  • Prof Paul Dalziel (Economics, leading the employer-led channels stream)

The programme was designed to produce new knowledge that can be used by policy advisors to design better systems of support, and by practitioners for better implementation of current and future policies. The aim was to help improve education and training choices by young people, equipping them more fully to participate in sustainable, high quality and productive employment.

The programme was overseen by an External Reference Group of public policy advisors drawn from seven agencies: Careers New Zealand; Department of Labour; Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development; Ministry of Youth Development; Te Puni Kōkiri; and the Tertiary Education Commission.

The research team was also helped by five international scholars:

  • Prof David Raffe (Director, Centre for Educational Sociology, University of Edinburgh)
  • Prof Johanna Wyn (Director, Youth Research Centre, University of Melbourne)
  • Dr Denise Henning (President, Northwest Community College, British Columbia)
  • Dr Paul Ryan (Fellow, King’s College, University of Cambridge)
  • Prof John Buchanan (Director, Workplace Research Centre, University of Sydney)

The research programme was designed around five phases as shown in the table below. The first EEL Research Report described the research design for the programme. The second EEL Research Report was produced in the first phase of the research, presenting an integrated literature review of education employment linkages drawing on the programme’s four disciplines. The second phase produced a third report, offering maps of current systems in New Zealand for supporting young people to make sound education employment linkages. The third phase produced four reports – one from each of the research themes – providing insights into the current systems drawn from key informants working in this area.

Phases four and five were combined. In this final stage, each of the research leaders established research partnerships with organisations willing to explore how we can improve current systems for helping young people link employment opportunities with education choices. Again four reports were produced, one from each of the research themes. These results were presented at an international research colloquium held in Wellington 15-16 August 2012. An overview report was prepared under the lead authorship of Mr Graeme Nicholas (ESR, Christchurch), summarising the project and the colloquium.

All twelve of these research publications are available on this website.


The Education Employment Linkages Research Programme


Objective 1
K. Vaughan

Objective 2
J. Higgins

Objective 3
H. Phillips

Objective 4
P. Dalziel

1. International Context

Integrated international literature review drawing on:
EducationSociologyIndigenous StudiesEconomics
2. What is happening?Mapping of current education employment systems in:
School communitiesRegional communitiesMāori and Pasifika communitiesEmployer-led channels
3. Why is it happening?Interviews, surveys and focus groups of key informants in:
School communitiesRegional communitiesMāori and Pasifika communitiesEmployer-led channels
4. How can we make it different?Case studies of how positive outcomes occur in:
School communitiesRegional communitiesMāori and Pasifika communitiesEmployer-led channels
5. Integration and AssessmentTwo pilots of best practice systems, assessing in each pilot site the integrated results of the four research streams