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Funding Bids

Page history last edited by Keith Lyons 13 years, 4 months ago

This page contains news of bids for funding.

15 March 2011 Examining regional learning pathways: lessons from the Eden Community Training Partnership


Regional and Rural Research and Development Grant 2010-2011


Project title: Examining regional learning pathways: lessons from the Eden Community Training Partnership (ECTP)


Project proponents

-      Eden Community Training Partnership

-      South Coast Workplace Learning

-      University of Canberra

-      Regional Development Australia Far South Coast

-      Eden Marine High School.


National priority areas addressed

Australian Government regional priorities:

-      Regional disadvantage, including disadvantage faced by Indigenous groups in the far South Coast of NSW

-      Promoting social inclusion.


Community support priorities:

-      Identification of optimal strategies to build community capacity through education and training and to meet local needs.


Description of project 

Eden Community Training Partnership (ECTP) has established school, industry and community partnerships to develop education and training opportunities across the Eden community. Partnerships incorporating strategic industries and educational providers collaborate to improve student engagement and increase student retention while increasing the range of employment outcomes for young people.


The ECTP is employing a ‘whole of community approach’ to respond to chronic low levels of educational access, participation and achievement within the Eden community. Following a successful trial year, ECTP must now identify both current strengths and development potential for local networks. The research thus focuses on:

-      key facets of ECTP as a learning community

-      enablers and barriers to ECTP partnership work

-      structures and processes to promote consistency and sustainability

-      the identification of transferable lessons for other Australian regions.


The research will be informed by a Project Management Group, with ECTP and external agencies, and will both investigate ECTP structures, processes and achievements and conduct case studies of educational pathways development. Outcomes will include models for (a) bottom-up development of educational partnerships in remote and regional areas and (b) design of educational pathways (school-vocational-higher education + industry) to meet local industry and employment needs. Both models will offer transferable structures for community-led partnerships in regional local government areas across Australia. 




Australians from lower socio-economic backgrounds are significantly less likely to participate in higher education than others (James 2002). Indigenous Australians are not only less likely than other students to complete year 12, but are also less likely to complete a higher education qualification once they enter university (LSAY No. 17 2008). Despite many years of funding for equity initiatives ‘people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, those from regional and remote Australia as well as Indigenous Australians are under-represented in higher education compared to their incidence in the general population’ (Bradley et al., 2008, p. 27).


Social research carried out by Tony Vinson (2007), James (2002) and Gale (2009) suggests a range of factors associated with low levels of educational attainment: family attitudes, poor school experience, low educational attainment, poverty and distance from providers. When low SES groups live in regional areas the level of disadvantage is magnified. Moreover, the range of regional course offerings is considerably narrower than the range offered in urban areas, including areas designated low socio-economic status (Australian Government, 2010, p.18). This is a significant disadvantage for Australians in many regional areas.


The National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2008-13 (DEEWR) has proposed performative measures for improved access (proportion of a given cohort that has commenced tertiary education at a given time), participation (proportion of a given cohort enrolled at tertiary institutions at a given time) and attainment (proportion of a given cohort that has completed tertiary education). An initial analysis of educational achievement and outcomes in the S-E NSW region confirms that school retention and participation rates in vocational education and HE for 15-25 year olds are considerably lower than state and national averages.


Socially and economically, regional delivery of tertiary education conveys a range of advantages for individuals. The NCVER estimates that a Bachelor degree provides a lifetime rate of return of 15 per cent a year for men and 17 per cent for women (Beddie & Curtin 2010) and the achievement of a Diploma-level qualification is also significant. While it is recognised that some students who complete school in a regional town will choose to leave home to attend a city-based university, this research is designed to enhance participation of young school leavers and mature aged community members who have not traditionally been able to access tertiary education. Furthermore, for those who choose other learning pathways, local development of enhanced knowledge and skills can contribute to long-term economic development in the town.


Partnerships between regional communities, government and educational providers have the potential to raise aspiration, access, participation and achievement in higher education for disadvantaged people, including those from Indigenous and low socioeconomic status (SES) background groups. The Review of Australian Higher Education notes:

‘Providers in regional and remote areas need to be encouraged and supported to build upon partnerships with local communities, providers in other sectors of education, businesses and industry. Such arrangements will involve institutional cross-collaboration and partnerships, including sharing the use of facilities and resources’ (Bradley et al. 2008, p.111).


However, community-based development of regional programs entails new forms of engagement for all stakeholders. Healthy community partnerships are characterised by shared goals, values, responsibilities, communication channels, governance, leadership and a building of trust (Seddon et al. 2008). Partnerships involving business, educational institutions and communities can create programs that not only meet the needs of residents of all ages and backgrounds but also convince employers and the community that education is relevant, useful and provides pathways to employment. This project has begun to successfully address this challenge.


Eden Community Training Partnership (ECTP)

Eden is a geographically remote town located in the Far South Coast of NSW, 55 km from Bega, 250 kms from Canberra and 560kms from Sydney. There is limited public transport and the remote location has had a severe impact on services, employment and training opportunities for Eden residents. Of 358 Eden residents aged 24 years at the time of the 2006 census, 151 young people had left school without completing Year 12. Only 78 young people had completed school with a Year 12 Certificate. No males, and only 4 females aged 24, had completed any course at bachelor degree level. Eight young people had achieved a vocational diploma and 31 people had attained a Certificate 3 or 4 qualification (ABS Census 2006).


Eden Marine High School, which is a key stakeholder in the ECTP, is the southernmost high school in NSW. The school is a participant in the Country Area Program and has been recognised as a Centre for Excellence. The school is also included in the Low Socio-economic Status School Communities National Partnership program. The following table illustrates that the socio-economic distribution in Eden is concentrated in the bottom quarters.


Table 1. Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA)[1] 

Bottom quarter

Middle quarters

Top quarter






Eden distribution





Australian distribution



Reference: My School website


The Eden community has actively engaged to reverse educational disadvantage through the creation of the Eden Community Training Partnership (ECTP), which aims to strengthen school, industry and community partnerships in creating vocational education pathways for young people in the Eden community. The ECTP offers a forum where specific industries (industries where there are skills shortages and are fundamentally essential to the Eden community) share knowledge and expertise with education and training providers to assist in developing education pathways that meet identified local industry needs.


The ECTP is engaging with local industry and community service providers to promote school based traineeships and apprenticeships. The partnership also promotes parental and family engagement, especially with Aboriginal communities, where parental involvement can have a disproportionately positive effect on student outcomes. The ECTP is working on a whole of community approach to provide opportunities for participation in education, training and employment and to address barriers to student engagement and retention.


While the ECTP has been effective, it must now identify current strengths and explore development potential for its continued operation. One constraint identified has been a lack of data relating to skills shortages within the region and skills deficits that may relate to individual employer groups. Two activities which are essential to the ECTPs operations and will ensure that the ECTP can meet the needs of employers and employees are: 

-      data collection of essential industries, skills shortages and employment opportunities in the Eden district  

-      mapping of required knowledge and expertise to meet industry needs. 


It is also important to identify appropriate training and pathways in collaboration with employers and education service providers. This funding would ensure that appropriate courses are provided locally to meet those needs.


Another key area of concern is communication. It has been identified that communication tools would not only inform industry and education service providers but also benefit students and their families in making informed decisions about career pathways. It is proposed to create a community wiki and to incorporate the use of social networking programs to support information sharing and promotion across the community.


Research proposal


This research investigates models for community-based partnerships that can raise educational access and participation through the design of regionally-specific educational pathways. The research draws from community-based participatory research and community education methodologies and includes a critical analysis of underlying drivers, barriers and enablers to partnership work.


The proposed research specifically focuses on four areas:

1.     Contextualisation of the work of the ECTP through a study of existing learning communities, their structures and achievements

2.     Analysis of enablers and barriers to ECTP partnership work

3.     Identification of structures and processes to promote consistency and sustainability

4.     Identification of transferable lessons for other Australian regions.


The research builds on community-led projects such as the Gwydir Learning Region model (Mitchell 2006) and the Noosa model (Brennan 2005) and extends this research to support both local and national community education initiatives. With broad cross-sectoral partnerships, a community wiki and social networking to support information sharing and promotion, the research process and outputs present a community-led model that other regions can both access and adopt.




The research proposed in this submission aligns closely with national priorities by addressing a community-based response to regional disadvantage – in particular, disadvantage faced by low socio-economic and Indigenous groups in the Far South Coast of NSW. The research aligns with the Regional Development Australia - Far South Coast ‘Strategic Regional Plan 2010-2015’, which promotes local education, training and employment to reduce outward migration of young people and promotes social inclusion through commitment to collaboration and to giving a voice to the disadvantaged and disengaged.


The research harnesses and extends existing strengths and commitment within the ECTP, Eden Marine High School, South Coast Workplace Learning and partner institutions including the University of Canberra. Research activities will be informed by a Project Management Group that oversees investigation of ECTP structures, processes and achievements and conducts case studies of educational pathways development. Outcomes will include models for bottom-up development of educational partnerships in remote and regional areas and for the design of educational pathways (school-vocational-higher education + industry) to meet local industry and employment needs. Both models will offer transferable structures for community-led partnerships in regional areas across Australia.


Overall, the proposed research seeks a sustainable approach to the development of community-led pathways and programs to address the education and training needs of seriously under-represented groups in regional Australia.


Project management structure


Project Management Group  

The project Management Group will contain members from Eden Community Training Partnership, RDA Far South Coast, Bega Valley Shire Council, South Coast Workplace Learning, Eden Marine High School, local Indigenous communities, Eden business community and the University of Canberra.


Lead applicant

University of Canberra

ABN: 81 633 873 422

The University of Canberra has a dynamic, innovative and collaborative research culture with a focus on applied research in areas aligned with the needs of our local community as well as national and international research priorities. Our research is carried out in partnership with national and international organisations in the academic, government and private sectors.


University of Canberra

Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone: 61 2 6201 5111

Website: www.canberra.edu.au

Research Office: http://www.canberra.edu.au/research.


Project Manager

Barbara Cram

Project Manager Regional Pathways

University of Canberra

ACT 2601

E: Barbara.cram@canberra.edu.au

T: 02 6201 2892


Communication Plan

Project outcomes will be communicated through:

-      The project wiki

-      Project report submitted to RRRDG and distributed by ECTP, RDA-FSC, Bega Valley Shire Council and the University of Canberra

-      Professional and academic journals and conferences.



Expected starting date:             2 May 2011

Expected end date:                 30 January 2012

Project budget





Total cost

In-kind/ other funding

Project funds sought

Project Management Group (5 meetings)


May 2011 - Jan 2012


$2,000 (UC)


Contextualisation of ECTP work through a study of existing learning communities, structures and achievements; analysis of barriers and enablers to ECTP work (50 hours)



June 2100 – September 2011


$1,000 (UC)

$1,000 (ECTP)


Identification of strengths for further development: skills and education audit
(50 hours)


July –December 2011



$2,000 (UC)


Identification of school-based vocational courses and pathways through community engagement (70 hours) 

ECTP, UC, high school, local community



UC ($2,000)

ECTP ($500)

Community ($2,500)


Analysis of successful strategies and creation of transferable model
(30 hours)


September – December 2011




Creation of a community-based wiki (18.5 hrs)


May - December 2011




Project report preparation, submission and  distribution
(28.5 hrs)

UC, Project Management Group

October 2011 – January 2012


$500 (UC)

Management Group ($1,000)







$24, 600

Total cost of project


Amount sought



In-kind contributions will be made from:

-      Eden Community Training Partnership ($1,500)

-      Eden business groups and community ($2,500)

-      Project Management group ($1,000)

-      University of Canberra[2] ($7,500).


Key references

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2010), accessed at:  abs.gov.au, November 2010.

Australian Qualifications Framework Council (2009). Strengthening the AQF: An architecture for Australia’s qualifications, available from www.aqf.edu.au.

Beddie, F. And Curtin, P. (Eds) (2010). The future of VET: A medley of views. Adelaide: NCVER.

Bradley, D., Noonan, P., Nugent, H. and Scales, B. (2008). Review of Australian Higher Education: Final Report, available from http://www.deewr.gov.au/Higher Education/Review/Pages/ReviewofAustralianHigherEducationReport.aspx 

Brennan, L. (2005). Regionalised Education initiatives: A model for regional social capital and economic development. Noosa.

Department of Education Employment & Workplace Relations (DEEWR). (2009). Regional Participation: The Role of Socioeconomic Status and Access. DEEWR 12/2009. Retrieved 16 February 2010 from http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Programs/Equity/Pages/RegionalParticipation.aspx.

Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) (2008). A new ‘University Challenge’: Unlocking Britain’s Talent, available at www.dius.gov.uk.

Gale, T. (2009). More towards the centre: searching for a field position for student equity in higher education. Student equity in higher education: What we know. What we need to know. National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, University of South Australia, 25-26 February 2009.

Garlick, S. (2000). Engaging universities and regions. Commonwealth of Australia Higher Education Division Paper 00/15.

Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) (2002).Evaluating the regional contribution of an HEI: A benchmarking approach. HEFCE Reference 02/23 (April).

James, R. (2002). Socio-economic background and higher education participation: An analysis of school students’ aspirations and expectations. Department of Education Science and Training, Canberra.

Karmel, T. (2009). Reflections on the tertiary education sector in Australia. Adelaide: NCVER.

Mitchell, J. (2006). The Gwydir Learning Region model: An independent evaluation. J. Mitchell and Associates.

My School website: http://www.myschool.edu.au/MainPages/SchoolProfileRep.aspx?SDRSchoolId=1100538_8487&DEEWRId=10193&CalendarYear=2010&RefId=6QYC60BOru0edhh4Ywt1mxzswNFPI7Rj 

National Centre for Vocational Education research (NCVER).  (2009). Atlas of Australian Public VET - South Eastern New South Wales, available from: www.ncver.edu.au/resources/atlas/intro.html 

New South Wales Government State Plan: http://www.stateplan.nsw.gov.au/education.

Seddon, T., Billett, S., Clemans, A., Ovens, C., Ferguson, K. & Fennessy, K. (2008), Sustaining effective social partnerships, Adelaide: NCVER.

Seifer, S. & Greene-Moton, E. (2007). ‘Realizing the promise of community-based participatory research: Community partners get organised!’. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education and Action, Vol. 1, Issue 4, Winter 2007, pp 291-294.

Skills Australia (2009).Foundations for the Future: Proposals for the Governance, Architecture and Market Design of the National Training System, available from:    http://www.skillsaustralia.gov.au/Publications_and_Resources/Skills_Australia_public_papers.htm

Universities Australia (2008).Advancing equity and participation in Australian Higher Education, Action Plan, Canberra. Available from http://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/

Vinson, T. (2007).  Dropping off the edge: mapping the distribution of disadvantage in Australia. Catholic Social Services   available from http://www.australiandisadvantage.org.au/pdf/summary.pdf.

Wheelahan, L. (2009). ‘What kind of access does VET provide to higher education for low SES students? Not a lot.’ Student equity in higher education: What we know. What we need to know. National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, University of South Australia, 25-26 February 2009.




Appendix A: Project team experience and capability

Barbara Cram 

Barbara Cram is Project Manager for the DEEWR-funded project ‘Pathways to enhance regional participation in higher education’ at the University of Canberra (UC). In this role, Barbara engages with educational providers, government agencies, businesses and community groups in the South East NSW region to design programs that can alleviate the educational disadvantage commonly experienced by rural students, especially those from low socioeconomic and Indigenous backgrounds.


Barbara’s prior experience includes management of the ‘Beyond Articulation’ project, which investigated collaborative development between Canberra Institute of Technology and UC – see Beyond Articulation project report: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1596404. Other roles include coordination of learning resources for the NSW ‘TAFE Online’ program, leadership of educational design teams and state-wide delivery of teacher professional development.


Barbara has given presentations at state, national and international conferences and has published in the areas of cross-sectoral pathways, self-assessment, work-based assessment, online educational design and regional engagement for education. In addition, she has managed the development of websites concerning learning objects, information technology, design fundamentals and Aboriginal studies.


Barbara’s qualifications include a Master of Education (University of Canberra), Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching English to the Migrant (Macquarie), and a Bachelor of Arts with Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Sydney).


Relevant publications

Cram, B. (2010). How realistic are post-secondary participation targets? Perspectives from a regional project. Full refereed paper submitted to AVETRA 2010 13th Annual Conference, Adelaide, QLD, 8-9 April 2010.

Cram, B. (2009). Leading from behind: Strategies for innovative leadership in educational design provision. EDUCAUSE Australasia 2009, Perth, Australia. (Full refereed paper)

Cram, B. (2008). Beyond Articulation: A sustainable model for collaboration. Final report of the CASR grant project Beyond Articulation. University of Canberra; available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1596404.

Cram, B. and Watson, L. (2008) Managing credit transfer from TAFE to university: the case for cross-sectoral collaboration. Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA) 11th Annual Conference, 3-4 April 2008, Adelaide, Australia. Available at: http://www.voced.edu.au/about/whatis.html. (Full refereed paper)

Cram, B., Croucher, V. and Lines, B. (2008). What’s it like for students? Enhancing the student experience from VET to University. Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA) 11th Annual Conference, 3-4 April 2008, Adelaide, Australia. Available at: http://www.voced.edu.au/about/whatis.html. (Full refereed paper).


Professor Barbara Pamphilon 

Barbara Pamphilon is a Professor of Community Development and the Director of the Australian Institute for Sustainable Communities at the University of Canberra. She has undertaken a range of community building projects in regional Australia and in developing countries, for example:

-      Regional Australia: an analysis of Groundswell (an innovative multi-stakeholder trial to recycle country town green waste into quality compost): a review and community engagement project to build Dalgety Women’s Day; an assessment of a training pilot for Aboriginal Health Service Managers in Central Australia

-      Developing countries: identifying and developing business skill needs of PNG women smallholders;  a review of the Samoa Sport for Development Project ( building villages through wider engagement in sport) ; researching the impact of the Pacific Children’s Project (strengths-based child protection) and capacity building of staff in Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu)  a review of integrated community development for women’s income development in Than Hoa province, Vietnam.

Barbara has developed a number of workshop processes that enable stakeholders to identify their common ground and to build on this. She uses her Zoom model analysis framework to ensure that the multiple levels of meaning from each group/individual can be acknowledged. Her processes ensure that a rich body of research about the diverse issues is collected but that in addition future planning can be established from the common ground.


Relevant publications

Pamphilon, B with Solomona C (2010) ‘It’s all about teamwork’: Moving towards a sustainable sport for development model in Samoa, Australia Sports Commission for AusAID. 

Pamphilon, B & Rolfe, V (2008) Dalgety Women’s Day: Connecting the Women of the Monaro for Snowy River Shire.

Pamphilon, B ( 2006) ‘The Zoom Model: a dynamic framework for the analysis of life histories’, in Narrative Methods vol 3 edited by Paul Atkinson & Sara Delamont., SAGE London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Pamphilon, B ( 2005) ‘The Community Youth Case Study: is that all there is?’ in Kayrooz, C. and Trevitt, C. Research in Organisations and Communities: tales from the real world, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2005

Pamphilon, B & Booth, J (2005) Seeds of Change: a Quality Review of the Pacific Children’s Project (Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu) International Development Support Services, for AusAID.


Rachel Jones 

Rachel Jones is the Partnership Manager for South Coast Workplace Learning, who are contracted to deliver the DEEWR funded, School Business Community Partnership Broker program on the Far South Coast of NSW.  In this role Rachel is responsible for developing strategic, whole of community partnerships to improve education and transition outcomes for all young people with a strong focus on students who come from an indigenous or low socioeconomic background.


Rachel has been instrumental in the development of the Eden Community Training Partnership. Rachel has successfully facilitated stakeholder engagement forums, bringing sectors together, assisting in the development of a shared vision, values and developing a partnership process to ensure integrity of the partnership, keeping a focus on the main goal.


Rachel has a Diploma in Welfare and has certificates in disability, sexual health and workplace training and assessing. She has worked in the Community Services Sector in the Far South Coast region for over 12 years. Rachel has developed and delivered pre-employment and transition to work programs for young people with a disability and/or multiple barriers to employment and education. This has entailed working in close collaboration with employers, family, community and training organisations.


Paul Morris 

Paul Morris holds a Bachelor of Education (Sydney) and is the principal of Eden Marine High School. Paul has worked in low SES schools for the duration of this 27 year career, with the last 18 years spent working in the Bega Valley Shire. 


Eden Marine High School is participating in the National Partnerships Quality Teaching (Centre for Excellence) program, the National Partnerships Low SES program, the Country Area Program (CAP) and is developing a Trade Training Centre (Metals and Engineering – Boat Building and Boat Repair).


Eden Marine High School has consistently achieved outstanding academic results over a number of years and outperforms schools experiencing similar levels of socio-educational disadvantage.


Paul was the founder of the Sapphire Coast Learning Community (SCLC), a community of two high schools, 14 partner primary schools and an environmental education centre working across the Bega Valley Shire. The SCLC has developed a number of projects to promote teacher quality and to support a continuum of learning K-12 in a regionally isolated setting.


Paul is one of the architects of the ECTP. He has played a leadership role in developing partnerships across education, training, government and industry to create pathways into further training and employment and, in so doing, promote student engagement and retention.


Paul is held in high regard by his peers for his expertise in developing learning communities and has presented at conferences on this subject that include; the Illawarra and South East Region Principals’ Conference, The NSW Secondary Principals’ Council, the state CAP Conference and the Teacher Education Council.


Paul is recognised within the NSW Department of Education and Training as an outstanding educational leader and presents leadership programs to school leadership groups on behalf of the Professional Learning and Leadership Directorate.


Leanne Atkinson 

Leanne Atkinson has extensive experience serving Local Government and Regional Development Australia, including: 

-      Board member of Region Development Australia – NSW Southern Inland (2009-present)

-      Convenor of South East Region Local Government Community Strategic Planners group (2009-2010)

-      Board member of Capital Region Development Board (2004-2008)

-      Chairperson of the Environmental Services Committee of Snowy River Shire Council. (2002-2004).


Leanne has a strong commitment to regional development and to promoting social and cultural equity and equality of educational opportunity.


Professor Keith Lyons 

Keith Lyons is Director of the National Institute of Sport Studies at the University of Canberra. Keith has worked with a variety of community and sporting organisations in the United Kingdom and Australia. Since his arrival in Australia in 2002 he has managed and worked on a range of projects. Whilst at the AIS Keith was responsible for an innovative high speed communications project (http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/transforming-government-volume-2-enhancing-productivity/ausport.html). In his present role Keith is involved in a number of research projects and consultancies with professional sports clubs and national sporting organisations. Keith has previously established wikis to support community consultation and collaboration.



Further information about the ECTP and stakeholders supporting this research can be provided by:


1.     Regional Development Australia – Far South Coast

2.     NSW Premier & Cabinet, South-East Region.


Please contact Barbara Cram, Barbara.cram@canberra.edu.au for contact details.



[1] Variables used in calculating a value on the ICSEA scale include student-level data on the occupation and education level of parents/carers, and/or socio-economic characteristics of the areas where students live, language background other than English and the proportion of Indigenous students enrolled at the school.

[2] This project would extend activities of the Regional Pathways project, funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and managed by the University of Canberra.

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