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Wednesday, 21 May 1980
Page: 2970

Mr FIFE (Farrer) (Minister for Education) -by leave- For the information of honourable members, I present a report of a major evaluation of the Education Program for Unemployed Youth, commonly known as EPUY. The evaluation was carried out for my Department by the Australian Council for Educational Research. It was commenced in September 1978. The report gives a detailed account of the methods and results of the evaluation, and is accompanied by a summary which presents the major findings.

The EPUY scheme was announced by the Commonwealth Government in February 1977. Under the scheme funding is provided to the States for the development and conduct of courses designed for young unemployed persons whose educational qualifications are inadequate in today's labour market conditions. It is important to realise that participation in such a course is not a guarantee of employment. Rather, the aim of the program is to improve the employability of participants.

The purpose of the evaluation was twofold. The primary objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of EPUY in achieving its stated aim of improving employability. A secondary objective was to study unemployed school leavers with a view to learning more concerning their educational, vocational and personal needs. There has been a need for alternative educational processes to be developed for EPUY courses, in order to make education more meaningful to young people who are early school leavers. The study was therefore concerned both with describing and with evaluating these alternative strategies.

The report presents a favourable assessment of the value of EPUY. In particular, it indicates that the scheme is achieving its major objective of increasing the employability of participants. There are a range of conclusions presented relating to staffing arrangements, to the selection of participants, and to the content of EPUY courses. I have asked my Department to review the current EPUY guidelines in the light of the findings of the evaluation, with a view to necessary modifications being made. This review will be carried out in co-operation with the State EPUY steering committees, which include representatives of the technical and further education authorities in each State and of the Department of Employment and Youth Affairs, as well as of my Department.

The report is particularly timely as 1980 is the first year of operation of a more recent Government initiative, the School to Work Transition Program. EPUY has a place as one of the activities that may be funded under the Transition Program. I believe that there is a great deal of useful information in the evaluation report for consideration in the broader context of the Transition Program. The results of the evaluation are expected to be of particular value to the technical and further education authorities in each State, which are responsible for developing individual EPUY programs. I commend the Australian Council for Educational Research and in particular the researcher, Dr Hubbert for the thorough way in which the evaluation has been carried out. I commend the report to the House.

I present the following paper:

Education Program for Unemployed Youth- Ministerial Statement, 21 May 1980

Motion (by Mr Viner) proposed:

That the House take note of the paper.

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