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Transforming employment aspirations: Results of the HIPPY Tutors Study – Brotherhood of St. Laurence
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Research findings 

Just over half of the 412 home tutors employed in 2019 and nearly three-quarters of site coordinators participated in the research. 

Tutors are job-ready 

Some 95% of home tutors agreed or strongly agreed that ‘working with HIPPY has helped me develop skills that will be useful for my future employment’. Although only 20% of tutors nominated ‘wanting a job’ as a reason they became a tutor, almost 65% wished to obtain further employment immediately thereafter. 

Tutors develop human capital and social capital 

As a direct effect of the combination of work experience with structured professional development, tutors develop both human capital and social capital. The narratives consistently attest that tutors are constantly learning—about HIPPY, child development, the challenges of service delivery and associated administration, as well as about themselves—and thereby developing human capital. Social capital is built through the relationships that tutors forge with participating families and other local providers. Particularly for those from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background, this also means assuming leadership in their local communities. 

Doing makes a difference: Tutors grow in self-efficacy and resilience 

Some 92% of tutors either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that ‘working with HIPPY improved my confidence’. It is clear that levels of self-efficacy are altered by undertaking program delivery. Tutors receive positive reinforcement from task completion, which gives them confidence to nurture aspirations. Overcoming obstacles, in particular to self-confidence, is central to this process. Site coordinators also reflected on their own role in mentoring tutors to overcome such challenges. Working as a home tutor builds resilience. 

Witnessing transformation in self and others leads to hope and optimism 

Both home tutors and site coordinators conveyed great pride in their work and deep personal and professional satisfaction in witnessing the transformation of others. Site coordinators nominated observing personal and professional growth in HIPPY tutors as a source of ongoing motivation and professional satisfaction. For tutors, seeing change in the families with whom they worked forged a sense of hope and optimism about their own lives and potential contribution to their families and communities. 

Parenting is paramount: the importance of flexibility and values alignment 

Parenting remains central to the identity of tutors. For some tutors becoming a role model for their children is a primary motivation; for others supporting their own children’s development supplies this incentive. The HIPPY Tutors Employment Program provides an opportunity to explore how their parenting role interacts with emergent professional aspirations. Given their caring responsibilities, tutors value flexibility in working hours, with 84% indicating that flexibility influences their decision to either take up work or additional hours. 

Addressing challenges and future proofing the program 

Workshop discussions deepened our understanding of the challenges faced by tutors and site coordinators. For tutors these mostly revolved around working with families with complex needs and finding ways to adapt the program to be even more culturally relevant and appropriate. Coordinators indicated that creating a transitional labour market (TLM) meant constantly recruiting new tutors. This sense of starting from scratch with each new cohort was a challenge and some coordinators worried that despite their growth while working with HIPPY, tutors required continued support to navigate the labour market. 

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The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.
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