Do you know what the ‘great Australian Dream’ looks like for today’s teenagers? How often do the teenagers in your life talk to you about their vision for their future – what they hope for, aspire to, both for themselves and for their peers?
It is important for young people to dream big, to aspire, to envisage the kind of future they want and genuinely to feel able to chase that dream. And it’s equally important for the rest of their community to support and encourage them to go for it.
This is why the Reach Foundation (Reach), in partnership with social researchers Reality Check Communication Research (Reality Check), have opened a real conversation with young people in Australia to explore their hopes and dreams. This is a critically important discussion which we believe has been and is missing from our national discourse with and about young people.
We are now ready to release the first ever Report into the hopes and dreams of Young Australians. The Report is the result of a multi-tiered research process designed to provide a comprehensive story of the views of young people in Australia today. This process utilized various methods, including a literature review, focus groups, surveys and online discussion forums. Over 600 young Australians aged 13–18 took part in this research, providing a diversity of viewpoints that makes a meaningful contribution to the current conversation on what’s important to young Australians today.
We (rightly) need to know about and understand the challenges and issues young people face, and this data is readily available from many highly respected and credible sources. But that’s not the whole story – young people are not and should not be defined by what’s wrong with them. We must know their aspirations, their hopes and understand their dreams and ambitions. And we must then encourage, enable and support their potential and efforts to achieve them.