Research Programme on Education Employment Linkages

Research Reports

A full list of the refereed research publications produced as part of the Education Employment Linkages research programme can be downloaded here. The list includes 12 formal research reports that were written to document the research team's progress. The abstracts of these research reports are shown here; the full reports can also be downloaded as PDF files from this page.

Information contained in any of the EEL research reports below may be reproduced, provided that an acknowledgement of the source is made.


Dalziel, P., J. Higgins, K. Vaughan and H. Phillips Education Employment Linkages: An Introduction to the Research Programme. EEL Research Report No. 1, 1 July 2007. Download PDF

Abstract: In March 2007, the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology in New Zealand announced that it was providing $2 million of funding for a 5 year research programme on successful education employment matching for youth. This paper describes the structure of the research programme, introduces the research team and explains the ways in which the programme is incorporating Māori research and innovation. The overall aim of the research programme is to answer the question: How can formal support systems best help young New Zealanders make good education employment linkages to benefit themselves, their communities, and the national economy?

Higgins, J., K. Vaughan, H. Phillips and P. Dalziel Education Employment Linkages: International Literature Review. EEL Research Report No. 2, 1 July 2008. Download PDF

Abstract: This report is the second in the Education Employment Linkages Research Report series. Its purpose is to document what is already known in the international literature, drawing on the research team's respective backgrounds in education, sociology, indigenous studies and economics to begin a trans-disciplinary account of key issues for young people making education and employment choices in their transition years from school to work. The report focuses on five themes in the literature: choice in education-employment linkages; crafting identities; discovery and development of abilities; opportunities and structure; and systems linking education and employment choices.

Vaughan, K., H. Phillips, P. Dalziel and J. Higgins A Matter of Perspective: Mapping Education Employment Linkages in Aotearoa New Zealand. EEL Research Report No. 3, 1 July 2009. Download PDF

Abstract: This report is the third in the Education Employment Linkages (EEL) Research Report series. Acknowledging that all map-making involves particular perspectives and representations of the world, each of the main chapters documents an important dimension of systems involved in young people’s transition from school.  The School-Communities chapter provides an education perspective focused on the perceptions, activities, and key relationships which characterise career education’s preoccupation with information-based, rather than lifelong development work.  The Regional Communities chapter provides a sociological perspective that focuses on Youth Training and Training Opportunities providers supporting young people who have left school with few or no qualifications and the trend to more systematic form of provision. The Māori and Pasifika Communities chapter provides an indigenous studies perspective focused on Māori and Pacific education and health providers whose links into the transition system may not be formal but rather accountable directly to Māori and Pasifika communities. The Employer-Led Channels chapter provides an economic perspective focused on Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics’ engagement with employers and the relationship with young people’s ability to make good matches between education and employment options.

Higgins, J. Education Employment Linkages Objective Two: Key Informant Interviews in Regional Communities. EEL Research Report No. 4, 1 July 2010.     Download PDF

Abstract: This report documents findings from the Key Informant stage of Objective 2 (Regional Communities) of the Education Employment Linkages research project. In the last quarter of 2009, interviews were conducted with service providers involved in helping young people with few or no qualifications with their post-school transition to tertiary education/training or employment. Those interviewed included providers of education/training (particularly in Private Training Establishments) and of connections services (involved in tracking and referral). Interviews focused on how providers assisted young people with few or no school qualifications to develop vocational imagination and labour market literacy, and how they facilitated linkages between education/training and employment. Three key concerns emerged from the provider perspective: (i) the difficulty of addressing the diverse and interconnected needs of young people in transition when funding is fragmented and “siloed”; (ii) the question of whether success is best measured by means of “hard” outcomes or according to progress towards achievement; (iii) the place, in the wider education sector, of these providers and the young people with whom they are working.

Dalziel, P. Education Employment Linkages: Perspectives from Employer-Led Channels. EEL Research Report No. 5, 1 July 2010.    Download PDF

Abstract: This report presents results from a series of key informant interviews carried out in 2009 about employer-led channels for helping young New Zealanders make effective education-employment linkages during their transition years. Employers have become more connected to education institutions, motivated in part by serious skills shortages that emerged over the last decade. Career Services is recognised as a superb source of reliable career information, advice and guidance, whose services could be more widely used. The interviews revealed a concern that large numbers of young New Zealanders undervalue the positive benefits that can be achieved with good quality career guidance. There was wide support for further development of careers education in secondary and in tertiary education institutions. Another theme concerned finding ways to better manage relationships between educators and employers, including the greater use of specialist brokers. Finally, participants emphasised again and again the importance of supporting effective systems for helping young people to imagine different possibilities for their career development, and for helping them to develop skills for exploring and assessing a full range of opportunities as they construct their own career pathways

Vaughan, K. and P. O’Neil Career Education Networks and Communities of Practice. EEL Research Report No. 6, 1 July 2010.     Download PDF

Abstract: School-based careers advisors have been given a key role in assisting young people in transition from school to work and further education. Their role is especially significant in light of the strategic importance attached to career development for workforce preparation and development policies. However major changes in the nature of work and in contemporary transitions from school, as well as shifts in career education theory and delivery, mean that careers advisors are often left playing continual “catch up” challenge in terms of knowledge and expertise. Meeting the needs of young people today now involves establishing a far wider range of working relationships inside and outside of the school and managing far larger volumes of constantly changing information than ever before.

Phillips, H. and M. Mitchell ‘It is all about feeling the aroha’: Successful Māori and Pasifika Providers. EEL Research Report No. 7, 1 July 2010.     Download PDF

Abstract: This publication reports on 15 key informant interviews with Māori and Pacific post school training providers, designed to provide insight as to why the current education employment system is operating as it is in Māori and Pasifika communities. Positioned as a kaupapa Māori research project the focus was on highlighting successful education and training initiatives arising out of Māori and Pasifika communities. Historical and contemporary cultural, social and policy contexts impact on these organisations’ ability to fulfil the aspirations and visions they have for their young people and their whānau, and the communities within which they operate. The PTEs embedded cultural knowledge, values and practices in to their programmes and services to provide holistic support to fulfil the learning, training and cultural needs of their young people. The organisations spent considerable time talking about the increasing challenges they faced in delivering their services and consequently their ability to make sustainable changes to the lived realities of their young people. Despite the moving ground of the policy environment, diminishing funding opportunities and rising social alienation of young people and their communities, the organisations continue to deliver creative and innovative community programmes so that their young people can flourish. In doing so they talk back to government agencies and the standard story of Māori underachievement and talk forward to reflect and uphold the visions of their young people and communities. 

Vaughan, K. and L. Spiller Learning to Fly: Career Management Competencies in the School Subject Classroom. EEL Research Report No. 8, 1 July 2012. Download PDF

Abstract: This report is concerned with the key transition support system of school-based career education. We argue that long-standing deficiencies in career education require a new framework to address young people's needs. We discuss exploratory research with two schools on how career management competencies can be put into practice to provide this new framework. We suggest that career management competencies have the potential to be a transformative "core service" in career education. They can re-invigorate the direction of schools and sharpen the focus for the New Zealand Curriculum principles and vision of young people becoming confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners.

Higgins, J. Towards a Learning Identity: Early School Leavers Becoming Learners. EEL Research Report No. 9, 30 September 2012. Download PDF

Abstract: This report presents findings from research with fifty-one Christchurch young people who left school with low or no qualifications. Most of these young people experienced a period when they were not in education, employment or training (known as NEET) but at the time of this research they were all in a learning environment of some kind. The report explores the ways in which many of these young people rejected their former NEET identities and were building learning identities for themselves. It examines what facilitates this process and the processes by which these young people make education employment linkages. The report concludes that some current policy directions risk excluding members of this group from assistance.

Phillips, H. and M. Mitchell Kei Hea te Tuna? Māori and Pacific Island Young People's Experiences of Education Employment Linkages: Two Case Studies. EEL Research Report No. 10, 30 September 2012. Download PDF

Abstract: Kei hea te tuna? Māori and Pacific Island young people's experiences of education employment linkages reports on research undertaken in the Education Employment Linkages (EEL) research programme. Building on previous research in the programme, this study was on Māori and Pacific Island young people's experiences and perceptions of transitions beyond school, especially for those young people who had left school with few or no qualifications. The overarching aim of the project was to privilege Māori and Pacific Island young people voices. The project consisted of two case studies and looked at the EEL experiences and perceptions of young Māori and Pacific Island people in both urban and provincial settings. Case Study One rangatahi had left school early with no or few qualifications but had enrolled in a Private Training Establishment (PTE) to further their education. The rangatahi in Case Study Two had left school later than the rangatahi in Case Study One with at least NZCEA Level One; at the time of the research were not in employment but were actively looking for work. The rangatahi experienced considerable challenges, both in their schools and the labour market. The social and educational marginalisation that they experienced impacted on their access to educational and labour market outcomes and opportunities. Despite their school experiences the rangatahi valued education and saw it as means to realising their aspirations. While they opted out of school they opted back into learning in post-secondary training and education organisations. As alternative sites of learning the PTEs provided the rangatahi in Case Study One with positive and successful learning experiences. The rangatahi in Case Study Two challenged the commonly held view of NEET youth as disengaged and 'at risk'; rather they were engaged and connected into their communities in their pursuit to find work. All the rangatahi were optimistic about their futures and they drew on their whānau, friendship networks and communities to enhance their learning and work opportunities.

Dalziel, P. Towards a New Zealand System of Skill Ecosystems. EEL Research Report No. 11, 30 September 2012. Download PDF

Abstract: This final report from the 'Employer-Led Channels' theme of the Education Employment Linkages research programme addresses how to help young people make effective education employment linkages, focussing on institutions that use direct contact with employers to channel information to young people in secondary school or in further education or training. The report develops stylised models of employers and employees and integrates the two models to produce a model of a 'skill ecosystem'. It discusses a case study involving the Careers, Internships and Employment centre at the University of Canterbury, using the soft systems approach. A 'rich picture' shows the heart of their work to be an integrated set of menus of services provided to employers, students and faculties. The report proposes a New Zealand system of regional skill ecosystems anchored by Careers New Zealand. It further recommends that careers offices in secondary and tertiary education organisations (or the tutors performing that role in a small private training establishment) be regarded as key actors in the regional skill ecosystem. A very important step in this direction has been the recent development by Careers New Zealand of Career Education Benchmarks for secondary schools and for tertiary education organisations.

Nicholas, G., H. Phillips, P. Dalziel J. Higgins and K. Vaughan Education Employment Linkages: Reflections on a Five-Year Transdisciplinary Research Programme. EEL Research Report No. 12, 30 December 2012. Download PDF

Abstract: This is the final in a series of research reports produced by the Education Employment Linkages (EEL) research programme, financed by the New Zealand Public Good Science Fund from 2007 to 2012. Its purpose is to reflect on the programmes transdisciplinary and inclusive characteristics. After a chapter introducing the EEL programme, chapters 2 to 5 describe: how the research team sought to create a common understanding from their four academic disciplines (education, sociology, indigenous studies and economics); how they sought to integrate the work at their respective research sites; how they revised their approach to collaboration at the midpoint of the programme; and how the collaborative principles developed over the life of the programme were used to design an international colloquium of stakeholders at the programmes conclusion. Chapter 6 offers insights from the colloquium. The final chapter reflects on the programme in the light of fifteen propositions recently proposed by eight Swiss scholars for enhancing transdisciplinary research. It finds that the programme met the expectations of these propositions well.