Fast facts Starts 8 July, 2020

4 weeks


1-2 hours per week


FREE - Certificate for US$49


Education & Teacher Training



About this course

What did you aspire to be when you were young? What do kids in your family or community want to be when they grow up? In this course you’ll find out how children and young people answer this question, and what you can do to help support their aspirations.

This course provides an enriched understanding of what you can do as a parent, carer, or community member to support and nurture the educational and career aspirations of young people.

Underpinned by an extensive program of research conducted by leading educational experts, we delve into the crucial period when young people’s ideas about their post-school futures form and become entrenched.

Across the four weeks, we’ll look at why aspirations are important, explore trends in aspirations for different educational and career pathways, break down key factors that influence aspirations, and consider the powerful role of everyday conversations and experiences in shaping the way young people imagine their futures.

You will gain confidence in understanding and actively supporting young people, in terms of both your knowledge of post-school pathways and practical tools to help them navigate toward desired pathways.

What you'll learn

  • The difference between aspirations and expectations
  • Key terminology for talking about aspirations
  • The educational and occupational aspirations of more than 12,000 students across primary and secondary school
  • Perceptions of higher education and vocational education held by young people
  • The way aspirations are shaped by factors such as academic achievement, socio-economic status, Indigeneity, gender, rurality, and first-in-family status
  • The role of parents, families, schools, and communities in the complex period of aspiration formation
  • Practical tools to help you nurture and support the aspirations of young people

Course Syllabus

Week 1:

  • What are aspirations and why are aspirations important?

Week 2:

  • An overview of the educational and career aspirations of young people

Week 3:

  • Factors that influence aspiration formation

Week 4:

  • The powerful role of parents, families, schools, and communities in shaping aspirations

Meet the instructors

Laureate  Professor Jenny Gore

Laureate Professor Jenny Gore

Director, Teachers and Teaching Research Centre in the School of Education at the University of Newcastle

Related degrees

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.