Working Lives: Trade and Bachelor Graduates Ten Years On

An ARC Linkage project.

Project dates: 2006 - 2009

Grants and funding: ARC Linkage Grant

Background of the ARC Linkage Study

The aim of this ARC linkage project was to provide comparative data on the work, skill and benefit (WSB) trajectories experienced by young trade certificate and bachelor degree completers over the first ten years of working life. By identifying reasons for job changes, a more holistic understanding of skilled worker movements may be developed at a time of shortage and rapid change in technology and cultural values about work. Investigating WSB trajectories has significance for theory and policy on skilled worker retention, careers advice to youth and lifelong learning provision.

The research process was to identify graduates of RMIT in the period 1994, 1995 and 1996 and survey participants in each of the two cohorts – trade and bachelor degree graduates. The initial survey used self report techniques and telephone interviews. Following this stage of the research in-depth case study interviews were conducted. The purposes of the study included:

  1. An analyse and comparison of the patterns of labour market participation between and within each cohort group over the ten year period post graduation
  2. An analysis and comparison of the patterns of skill and qualification acquisition between and within each cohort
  3. An analysis and comparison of the benefit profiles (other than just income)


Project stages

Stage 1 and 2 (doc) involved a mail out survey in which the results (PDF) were processed using SPSS. This was followed up by telephone interviews of consenting participants.

This part of the project resulted in the following reports and publications.

Stage 3 of the ARC project involved 12 in-depth Case Study interviews with consenting participants.

This part of the process resulted in the following reports and publications:

Key people


  • Heather Fehring
  • Judith Bessant
  • Alan Montague
  • Jeff Malley
  • Lyn Robinson
  • Jane Carnegie
  • Katherine Herring
  • The Skilled Group
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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer