Education and training institutions : building social capital for regional development

Kilpatrick, Sue 2004, Education and training institutions : building social capital for regional development, in BTRE 2004 : Inaugural National Regional Research Colloquium, [National Regional Research Colloquium], [Canberra, A.C.T.].

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Title Education and training institutions : building social capital for regional development
Author(s) Kilpatrick, Sue
Conference name Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. Regional Research Colloquium (1st : 2004 : Canberra, A.C.T.)
Conference location Canberra, A.C.T.
Conference dates 19-20 February 2004
Title of proceedings BTRE 2004 : Inaugural National Regional Research Colloquium
Publication date 2004
Publisher [National Regional Research Colloquium]
Place of publication [Canberra, A.C.T.]
Summary Education and training institutions from schools through to universities have a vital role in supporting development in regional Australia. The interaction between these institutions and their rural communities influences the social capital of the community and the extent to which the community is a learning community, willing and able to manage change to the community’s advantage.

There are benefits to be had from a collaborative approach to planning and delivering training. This approach is consistent with theories of social capital that emphasise the crucial part played by networks, values and trust in generating superior outcomes for individuals, communities and regions. Research has found that education and training is most effective in building social capital and learning communities were there is attention to customising or targeting education and training provision to local needs. The key to matching provision with local needs, particularly in the more rural and remote areas, is collaboration and partnerships. Partners can be regional organisations, other educational institutions, businesses and government. The factors that enhance the effectiveness of the collaborations and partnerships are the elements of social capital: networks, shared values and trust, and enabling leadership.

Networks are most effective where there were opportunities and structures for interaction, which can be termed interactional infrastructure, that foster networks within the region, and networks that extended outside the region. Interactional infrastructure includes regional forums, committee structures, consultative processes and opportunities for informal discussion addressing the issues of education, training and employment in a community or region. Better outcomes are evident when there is an interactional infrastructure that is resourced with financial, physical and human resources of sufficient quantity and quality. Collaborations provide access to a greater range of external resources through extended external networks. Effective networks and shared visions, values and trust among the partners in a collaboration, are fostered by enabling leaders. Educational institutions are well placed to supply the ‘human infrastructure’ that makes collaborations and partnerships work, including enabling leadership.

Attention to factors associated with the quality of social capital, especially interactional infrastructure including leadership, shared vision and values and networks within and external to the community, can be expected to improve the effectiveness of education and training outcomes. More importantly, a collaborative approach to planning for education and training in rural regions will build the capacity of regions and their constituent communities to develop and change by building social capital resources. Leadership is an important driver of processes that build community and regional capacity and ultimately produce social and economic benefits through regional development. Educational providers in rural regions are well placed to act as enabling leaders.
Language eng
Field of Research 130199 Education systems not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category E2.1 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed
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Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Vice-Chancellor and Presidents Office
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