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Tracks to Adulthood Post-school experiences of 21-year-olds: The qualitative component of Competent Learners @ 20

Lesley Patterson

This report explores the transition to adulthood of 29 young people selected from the large sample of the Competent Learners @ 20 longitudinal study. That study found many young people had a relatively smooth transition from school to tertiary education. The transition to adulthood of young people who had not followed this well-lit path is the focus of this report. Some left school early (by age 17); others completed Year 13 but did not go on to tertiary study. At age 21, some had been mainly working since leaving school, some were participating in or had completed post-school education and training, some were mothers and some were unemployed.

The research questions included:

  • What are young people’s experiences of learning and work since school?
  • What are the influences on their experiences, and especially their decision-making, over that period?
  • What is the relationship between young people’s experience of school, and especially their school engagement and achievement, and their post-school pathways?

This research was funded by NZCER and the MInistry of Education.

Year published: 
Publication type: 
Research report
Ministry of Education
ISBN: 978-0-478-3678
Full text download: 
not full-text