Jobs for Kids: networking and learning for youth within one regional economy in Victoria, Australia.
In this paper I present some of the insights generated by ethnographic longitudinal research into regional learning networks focused on education, training and employment for youth that were instituted by the State government of Victoria, Australia from 2001 onwards. The research, funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage Project, was completed by a team of researchers at Deakin University working in partnership with one of the networks: the Smart Geelong Region Local Learning and Employment Network (SGR LLEN). In this paper I will undertake a number of tasks. Given the remoteness of the research context I will provide a 'necessarily limited' overview of both the geographical and policy context before outlining what a Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN) is, and does. I then move to outline the establishment of an Employer Reference Group (ERG) as a key strategy of the SGR LLEN. The paper closes with a synopsis of the research findings in regard to the possibilities within, and limitations around, a policy focus on networking and collaboration.