In 2016 the government of Austria implemented the strategy “Education until 18” by law, which states that education and training are obligatory for young people until the age of 18. This meant extending already existing offers for young people who are not in education nor training in order to create a support network for them. Yet teachers report that especially those young people who are most in need of help often do not participate in supporting offers.
Why Citizen Social Science for Youth Employment in Vienna?
Although the overall aim of “Education until 18” is to include all young people in preparatory measures or on formal education, many young people fall outside this system. The measures implemented under the umbrella of “Education until 18” aim to minimize these inequalities. Still, young people who are facing multifaceted problems, in particular, tend to quit measures as they are perceived as being too restrictive or demanding. Thus, there’s a need to involve young people affected by “Education until 18” in the conceptualization and improvement of these measures, with the aim of developing offers that are adapted to their needs and circumstances.
How will it happen?
As CoAct, we plan to perform almost all steps of the research process together with selected early school leavers. In doing so, we put them at the center of the research process in order to understand their point of view, their interests, and needs for training and social policy measures. This means that the concrete research questions, the choice of method, the gathering of data, the analysis, the presentation, and dissemination of results will be done by the young people with support by adult social scientists.
In order to conduct a whole research process together with young co-researchers, social scientific terms, concepts, and methods need to be adapted to the target group. This includes the development of different methods such as school walks, drawing sketches, box for terms, research museum or content analysis by “stop and go” which are inspired by classic social research as well as classroom training methods.