Ecosynergy Group Ltd. (EGL)

EGL’s mission is to bring accurate data and objective analysis from educational research to organizations. We are a research institute dedicated to improving policy and decision making through research and analysis.

How does leveraging from creativity create the most lasting impact? We work with organisations to develop storytelling methodologies using the latest technologies, mobile and social networking tools and apply this knowledge to increase sustainable performance.

Annick Janson, Co-Founder and Director is also Associate Researcher at the Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research, Victoria University of Wellington.

Visit the website of Ecosynergy Group Ltd. (EGL)

Project 2012
Engaging multi-cultural at-risk youth in transition to tertiary education and the workplace

This study addresses the factors that increase secondary school drop out rates. In collaboration with a Reference Group, the research team surveyed and interviewed 25 youth educators and conducted in depth interviews with 25 young role models to analyse the coping mechanism effective against early risk factors.

Role models were New Zealanders of European/Pākehā, Māori, dual heritage and mixed ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds nominated for their achievements by a reference group of educators and youth workers. In interviews about their life choices and career pathways they reflected on how they coped with early challenges and the lessons learnt in the process. These role models would not normally interact with at-risk youth. They are only at the onset of their careers, hence not in the limelight.

Thematic analysis of the stories uncovered elements from three topics: strengthening identity through personal growth, Enablement through interpersonal development and Post-secondary transition mechanisms.

Narratives expand on how these young people coped with the stresses that characterise teenage years, peer group and educational environment in ways that allowed them to turn obstacles into strengths. Stories include for instance transforming tendencies towards obesity into sports championship or becoming resilient to negative peer pressure by developing a supporting alternative peer network. Obstacles are explained as inevitable parts of one’s pathway with descriptions of turning points (“you can get back on the waka at anytime if you find yourself straying away from your path.”). A trailer with excerpts from these interviews is available online.

The compendium of stories from these future transformational leaders forms a unique series of inspirational audio-visual materials available to youth educators. An interactive resource is being developed with activities reinforcing the story themes. Youth workers will use this resource to help derail risk factors and increase youth involvement in educational and community-based extracurricular activities. The long-term aim is to support at-risk secondary students in developing goals that inspire them to shape personal opportunities in transition from secondary education.

The project addresses priorities 1 (all New Zealand children equally enjoy the right to education), 3 (reducing the high rate of unemployment of Māori and Pacific peoples, and particularly of young people) and 4 (reducing the number of people in our prisons and the disproportionate number of them who are Māori) identified by the Race Relations recent report. It is included in the 2011 Diversity Research Overview to the Human Rights Commission’s Race Relations Report by the Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research, Victoria University of Wellington.

Funded by the Todd foundation, the project is run in partnership with AIESEC International and AIESEC New Zealand, in collaboration with The University of Waikato, Wintec, AUT, AsiaNZ Foundation, Entrepreneurship NZ: Ahikaa; the Hub Youth Charitable Trust, Pasifika Medical Association, Waikato Museum, Raukura Hauora O Tainui and over 20 schools throughout New Zealand.

Contact: Dr. Annick Janson,


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