Risk and protective factors for Pacific communities around accessing and aspiring towards further education and training in Australia
Possessing vocational and career aspirations is an important characteristic that supports individual and family benefits, both socially and economically. However, when such attributes are not in existence, this may deter an ability for people to obtain employment opportunities that in turn enable social inclusion and mobility. This paper explores original research on the possible risk and protective factors of Pacific communities residing in Australia, and the barriers that deter the uptake towards further education and training. Feedback was sourced via an online survey completed by Pacific children and young people in primary school, high school and university, and their parents, teachers and community support workers. Protective factors include supportive family and friends, teachers, and positive selftalk paired with having a clearer understanding of goals and personal motivations. Pacific young people also placed an importance on supporting their families through their anticipated achievements, including a desire to financially assist parents and siblings. Risk factors include negative peer association, anti-social behaviour and non-supportive family and teachers. The need to also consider the cultural context in which the Pacific diaspora interact within a Western setting is encouraged, alongside an importance placed on creating a collaborative approach that enhances perspectives that incite achievement towards and in higher education.