The Summer Gap Project

The Summer Gap Project was an innovative collaboration between Victoria University (VU), the Hellenic Museum, AVID Australia, and youth collaborators, funded in partnership with the Victorian State Government. Summer Gap built on the understanding that innovative, research-informed initiatives that support students through key transition points when they are at their most vulnerable can maximise post-secondary study and career success.

The project responds to the need to activate youth and adults as change-makers to address complex social issues in education through youth participatory action research (YPAR) by exploring the process of co-designing a post-secondary ‘transition’ experience.

Despite a growing body of research around YPAR in education this study is one of the first documented examples of using YPAR to understand post-secondary ‘transition’.

The primary research goals for the project were to:

  • co-design a ‘transition’ program to build young people’s agency and capabilities to negotiate post-secondary life choices, including pathways to further education and employment
  • pilot the co-designed program
  • evaluate the pilot program and make recommendations for implementation beyond 2022.

The Summer Gap project team consisted of 6 staff from Victoria University, the Hellenic Museum and AVID Australia, as well as 5 youth collaborators from across Victoria who worked together to co-design the Becoming You program.

Becoming You Program: a Summer Gap Project creation

'Becoming You' is a learning and connection experience co-designed as part of the Summer Gap Project.

The program was co-designed by the Summer Gap Project team over 10 weeks with staff and youth collaborators working together to develop program’s learning outcomes, course structure, pedagogies and teaching strategies.

Becoming You has been designed for young people who are entering their post-secondary life and find themselves questioning ‘what comes next’.

Participants are supported through a personal inquiry process to consider what they want to achieve over the coming years and plan out their next steps.

By the end of the experience, participants will have a better understanding of the complexity inherent in any choice and be empowered to:

  • explore their motivations in life
  • confidently talk about personal decisions
  • confidently talk about personal decisions. Seek out and discover information about work, study, and life options
  • imagine and plan for their desired future.

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