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You are reading: Influencers: The importance of discussions with parents, teachers and friends to support vocational and university pathways

NCSEHE Adjunct Fellow Dr Lynette Vernon (Edith Cowan University) and NCSEHE Research Fellow Dr Catherine Drane have published the findings from their quantitative study entitled, Influencers: The importance of discussions with parents, teachers and friends to support vocational and university pathways.

The study examined the role of career discussions, between high school students and significant others, in supporting career pathways. The findings provide insight into the importance of timely, frequent educational discussions about career pathways with influencers, to support career expectations.

The results from this study also informed a publication for the myfuture Insights series.


Educational and career aspirations can be shaped by the expectations of significant others, including parents, teachers and peers. This study examined career discussions with significant others and how discussions about university or vocational education supported post-high school pathways. A mediation model examined the role of gender, year level, and first-in-family status to the links between pathway discussions and career expectations. The main findings suggested that students who discussed university more frequently with others were more likely to expect to attend university post high school. Students who discussed vocational and educational training pathways reported they were more likely to pursue vocational education. Students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds reported high expectations of attending vocational education and low expectations of attending university. Students discussed career and academic pathways with parents and peers more than with teachers and counsellors. This research informs influencers as to the importance of timely career pathway discussions.

Originally published in the International Journal of Training Research, 18 May 2021. Read the full article here.