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.