Gateways to occupational success : educational mobility and attainment for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander emerging adults

Abstract

Choices made at transition points between levels of education, particularly relating to further education, are ongoing determinants of later life attainment (Dietrich, Parker, & Salmela-Aro, 2012; Lucas, 2001). Gaining a university degree is increasingly a requirement for a “good life”. Jobs that once required a high school diploma now require a university degree, and increasingly youth are remaining in education to a postgraduate level to secure stable employment (Goldin & Katz, 2009; Piketty, 2014). Indeed, while the prospects of those with a university degree have not increased, the gap between those with and without a university degree has grown due to the considerable decline in the fortune of those with less than or only a high school level of education (Goldin & Katz, 2009; Heckman, 2006). It is thus problematic to note that considerable inequalities in educational attainment (IEA) exist, internationally, for at-risk groups in the transition to upper levels of education (e.g., immigrants, minorities, Indigenous populations, low socioeconomic groups; Lucas, 2001; OECD, 2011)

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