Elite Research Scholarships

Personal and Professional Transitions

Personal and professional transitions

In this study, the candidate will investigate decision-making, adaptive responses and ways in which student or new entrants to the workforce manage their transition to new roles in challenging circumstances. The focus of this research will be on transition associated with a move from a rural environment to study in a metropolitan or major regional setting or in moving from such locations to work or study in a rural location.

The long term aim of this research will be to enhance the capability of the rural workforce by contributing to our understanding of the transition process and to develop and tests ways in which this transition can be better supported.

One aspect of the program that a candidate could investigate would be to look at practical ways to adapt and apply a “thriving in transition” model to students who have relocated from a rural environment to study a health professional course in a regional or metropolitan campus of a university (or TAFE). This research would target the assistance provided to rural students, including those from lower socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds, to enable them to better manage and cope with their transition to tertiary study - especially where this may involve a physical re-location.  It would involve working with transition coordinators to initiate early interventions with students to help them recognise when support may be required, how to access and best utilise such support and then to learn from these experiences so that they are better equipped to manage similar challenges in the future.  An outcome of such research would be to improve the “success” of rural students in studying and completing health professional courses and in this way contribute to a range of rural health workforce initiatives that seek to bolster the number of health care professionals choosing to live and work in rural and remote areas.

Another option would be to investigate how university graduates (e.g. health, service and primary industry workers) transition to employment in a rural location and map their trajectory for success.

The vibrancy of rural communities is, in part, reliant on the stability of the workforce and the commitment to a long term career in the locality.  The effectiveness of training and the “match” or fitness of individuals to live and work in rural communities is important to guard against ‘drain’ of labour to competing industries in metropolitan locations.  This investigation would identify the particular pathways of students as they move through the transition from study to work; and identify the trajectories and early interventions that augur towards a satisfying career in rural locations. The project takes a “strengths” approach, rather than a deficit approach to vocational behaviour by focussing attention on the positive processes and characteristics of the individual’s transition.  The project will assist educators, HR managers and industry to understand the transition process and generate evidence to better support and retain a “thriving” and more effective workforce. Importantly, this research aims to identify markers that flag transition problems and allow appropriate interventions to be implemented in a timely and effective way.


More Information:

Web site:  http://www.utas.edu.au/ruralhealth

Dr Martin Harris or A/Prof Tony Barnett
University Department of Rural Health, Tasmania
University of Tasmania
Locked Bag 1372
Launceston, 7250
Email: Martin.Harris@utas.edu.au OR

Phone: +61 (0)3 6324 4029 or +61 (0)3 6324