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26 September 2011World-first study underway at Victoria University

About 2000 final-year students at Victoria have been approached to take part in a world-first study of graduates.

The Graduate Longitudinal Study New Zealand involves surveying 14,000 final-year students across New Zealand about their lifestyles, employment, projected career development, and their health and well-being. The participants will be re-approached for follow-up surveys in two, five and 10 years’ time.

The study, commissioned by Universities New Zealand – Te Pokai Tara, aims to determine the ongoing impact of a university education on graduates’ lives. The breadth of questions and length of time the study follows graduates are features which make the study a world first.

Victoria University of Wellington Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh says the study will yield important findings.

"We know a university education opens doors and provides opportunities not only for graduates, but also for their families and communities. We know for instance that a university education pays off for graduates with average earnings well above those without degrees.

"The findings from this study will help us know just how successful our graduates are and offer insights that will help us continue to offer high-quality degrees."

The study is being carried out by the internationally-respected National Centre for Lifecourse Research (NCLR)—a multi-university group headquartered at the University of Otago and responsible for the world-renowned Dunedin Multi-disciplinary Study, which follows the lives of about 1000 people from birth to now (the participants are around 40 years old).

Centre Co-Director Professor Richie Poulton is leading the GLSNZ study. He says the survey will provide the most detailed picture to date of what actually happens to graduates after they leave university.

"We will learn a great deal about how their lives unfold. For instance, how careers develop, the university-related influences which have the greatest impact on employment success, when they begin to have families, where they live, the state of their finances, their health and their social relationships.

"We will also learn about less tangible aspects of their post-university life—like how their values, attitudes and behaviours evolve over time—and what contribution to broader society they make."

Results of the initial baseline survey will be released in February next year.


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