Being young in Australia right now can tell us about wider society and about our future.
By focusing on issues that affect young people, and on developing policy and educational interventions to address youth disadvantage, CYPEP aims to identify the challenges to, and opportunities for, improved life outcomes for young people today and throughout their lives.
We want to change the conversation about young people’s futures and we are starting with a question: What does it mean to be young and disadvantaged in Australia?
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the widening economic gaps in our society, including, for many, increased financial vulnerability and poverty. Young people have been disproportionately affected by economic downturns and are experiencing the effects of widening social inequality, but are typically politically under-represented. Thousands have lost work and face limited opportunities in precarious employment affecting their access to adequate housing; students report that they regularly go without food and other necessities. In addition, a significantly high proportion of younger people believe climate change is a critical threat.
Young people are sometimes viewed as a proxy for the future and as a source of hope. They are also often seen to be simultaneously at risk and as a source of risk. At CYPEP, we are not going to assume a deficit approach to young people; nor are we going to romanticise youth.
We will seek to create and use evidence to navigate a path between these two alternative views. We aim to determine whether there are factors that disproportionately affect young people, and to explore how better evidence-based policy and practice in education can address youth disadvantage.