Educational reform & innovation for improving outcomes

CIRES researchers have worked collaboratively with education departments across Australia, as well as industry and government organisations involved in education, training and economic development to strengthen educational reform and improve societal outcomes.

These studies draw on contemporary national and international research and best practice from various sources, including academic literature. The projects generate theoretically-informed analyses and grounded research findings, which support the development of better educational policy.

Skills & Jobs for Melbourne's West

This landmark report, Strategies for Skills and Jobs in Melbourne’s West provides a way forward for prosperity in the West that centres on industry working with education providers and government. The report provides a comprehensive and co-designed set of strategies to overcome three specific challenges if Melbourne’s west is to thrive in the post-COVID economy.

The challenges were:

  • insufficient local jobs
  • leaks in the skill development pipeline
  • the presence of fragile networks linking education providers and industry.

The report sets out a way forward. Four main enablers of economic development were identified through the research:

  • creating a local skills eco-system
  • facilitating innovation, change and growth
  • authentic industry engagement
  • institutions as a space for industry and education collaboration.

We thank the Victorian Government for funding this project through the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF), and our partner, the West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance (WoMEDA).

CIRES researchers included

Contact us

For further inquiries, please email  [email protected] .

Skill needs in the West

The first stage of the Skills and Jobs for Melbourne’s West project identified marked growth in the West of Melbourne working age population over the coming decade, when compared to the rest of Australia.

This population growth needs to be matched with a strong level of employment growth. However, the jobs held by West of Melbourne residents will increasingly be outside the West. Paradoxically, local employers say they struggle to find skilled employees.

Key Findings

  • Most employers in the West of Melbourne report a skills gap in the local labour force
  • Many residents in the West of Melbourne commute out of the area for work which will worsen in the future
  • Employers reported additional problems in staff recruitment, retention, career development, progression and building up employees’ skills
  • Only a third of employers have active links with training providers.

This report was supported by the West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance and economic modelling by the Victoria University Centre of Policy Studies (CoPS) with funding by the Victorian State Government.

CIRES researchers included

Low Socio-economic School Communities National Partnership evaluations

CIRES researchers conducted two major evaluations of the Low Socio-economic Status School Communities National Partnership (PDF, 177 KB) (Low SES NP) programs in New South Wales over the period 2011–2015.

School staffing, management & accountability initiatives

CIRES researchers evaluated initiatives associated with staffing, management and accountability implemented by New South Wales schools involved in the Low SES NP.

Over successive years, the evaluation built up detailed case studies of selected schools through site visits, phone interviews and online surveys conducted with principals and teachers. This was complemented by rigorous statistical analysis of large data collections to identify which initiatives associated with staffing, management and accountability were implemented widely, and of those, which proved to be the most effective and sustainable.

School external partnership initiatives

In collaboration with the University of Canberra, CIRES researchers assessed the impact of school external partnerships on student achievement in schools that participated in the Low SES NP.

The research looked at variations in the implementation and effectiveness of different types of partnerships within and between schools, sectors and contexts (for example, location, economic conditions, student composition) through the development of in-depth case studies. It identified what types of school external partnerships are effective and why, and the extent to which they can be replicated in other contexts.

The final report provided recommendations regarding the long-term sustainability of different types of effective school partnerships and how they should be supported.

Client: New South Wales Department of Education and Communities

Years: 2011-2015

CIRES researchers included