The Project

The COVID-19 research project examined the key challenges – in the short, medium and longer term – facing particular populations of young people in particular places. The project delivered evidence informed solutions to these challenges.

The project participants were young people aged 16-24 years who lived in the City of Greater Geelong and had contact with one of the key stakeholders in the Geelong Region Local Learning and Employment Network (GRLLEN) and/or Skilling the Bay.

We used innovative, platform based, video capture technologies to conduct a series of video interviews with young people as we tracked their education, training and employment pathways in COVID ‘normal’ socio-ecologies that were profoundly shaped by historical and contemporary processes of disadvantage and marginalisation.

We worked with academic, community, business, the not-for-profit sector, and government stakeholders to develop scenarios in relation to identified situations, challenges, and possible futures.

The Challenge

The world is currently in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic that is yet to run its epidemiological course. Many parts of the global economy are in crisis, and the variety of government, business and community responses to the crises hint at their scale and possible duration.

Historically, we know that young people carry a particularly heavy burden in the downstream of crises: in terms of their health and well-being, their engagement in education and training, and their transitions into work. We also know that certain places will be more heavily impacted by these crises, certain labour market sectors will be more heavily hit, and certain populations of young people are more at risk in relation to these challenges.


The project has provided Geelong region stakeholders with a strong evidence base to co-design innovative interventions that foster the education and employment aspirations of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Geelong in the aftermath of the COVID-19 youth labour market crisis. The project has contributed, through a range of academic publications, blogs and Instagram stories, to regional, state, national and international debates about the challenges and opportunities that emerge for young people’s education, training and employment pathways at the convergence ‘between an advanced knowledge economy, which perpetuates patterns of discrimination and exclusion, and the threat of climate change devastation’.

Project Videos