School of Geography - Theses

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    Telework and child-care : life stage factors and preference for telework
    Fiori, Robert ( 1996)
    Telework is a type of work practice that is claimed will provide many employees the opportunity to more satisfactorily balance their work and family commitments, whilst also providing benefits to employers and society. Past research indicates that telework has so far been mostly taken up by women (Huws et al 1990 p.96; Schneider De Villegas 1990, p.425), and suggests that telework, as practiced overseas has been of particular interest to women with young children (Kraut 1989 Fig.2; DuBrin 1991 p. 1230; Yap & Tng 1990 p.234; Dawson & Turner 1989 pi8; Korte 1988 p.168). The reasons which are proposed by this previous research for the interest which mothers of pre-school children have in teleworking, centre on their need or desire to combine employment with the care of their young children (eg. Huws et al 1990 p.145). It is surprising therefore, that none of these studies have considered the impact of telework on the conventional strategies employed by individuals to accommodate child-care responsibilities. The impetus for this thesis was the passing of the Australian Public Service Home Based Work Interim Award in February 1994, for federal public service employees. The award is Australia's, and possibly the world's, first. Much of the media fanfare surrounding this award has concentrated on the notion that telework provides a good opportunity for women to combine work and child-care (quotes from press articles are provided in Appendix 1). However, the research literature which addresses women and telework is inconclusive as to whether women with young children in Australia will view telework as a superior alternative to their existing child-care options. This gap in the research literature was reflected in a 1989 report by the Department of Employment, Education and Training in Australia (Dawson & Turner 1989 p.64), which recommended that research was required to answer the questions:- "Is increasingly 'flexible' employment protecting and encouraging full and equitable participation by women in the [Australian] workforce? Are there other employment options which should be encouraged?" Given that no empirical research had emerged with which to answer these questions, it seemed appropriate for the present study to review the current situation, and contribute in a practical way to the discourse on telework in Australia. This study therefore aims to explore women's attitudes to telework across life cycle stages (expanding from Huws et al 1990); it explores key factors which are likely to influence demand for telework among women; and it compares preference for telework with preference for other work/no work options (updating Vandenheuval 1991). The sample for the study is restricted to computer professionals (programmers, systems analysts, and data processing managers). This study therefore, does not consider 'clerical teleworking' by clerical/secretarial and data entry staff, but only 'professional teleworking' by higher paid staff. This is a significant point, as the two forms exhibit different characteristics (Tomaskovic-Devey & Risman 1993; DiMartino & Wirth 1990 p.537; Weijers, et al. 1992 p.1049; Huws et al , 1990 p. 176; and Bailyn 1988 p.144). Bailyn (ibid) posits that "some of the confusion in the discussion of working from home has resulted from not clearly differentiating these two types of employees". In respect to this point therefore, the focused approach of this study provides some needed specificity.
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    The participation of people of non-English speaking backgrounds in SkillShare
    Sicari, Maria ( 1994)
    Targeting is the practice of according disadvantaged groups, including people of non-English Speaking Backgrounds, priority access to government services and programs. In 1992, SkillShare, a community based labour market program for long term unemployed people and other disadvantaged groups, withdrew its obligation to target people of non-English Speaking Backgrounds. This thesis investigates the effects of this decision on the participation rates of people of non-English Speaking Backgrounds in SkillShare and explores the implications of denying them priority access. Data collected from the Department of Employment Education and Training, from SkillShare Project Manager interviews, and from SkillShare participant surveys, suggest that participation rates have decreased, while barriers to access have increased. The results of these findings conflict with the Department of Employment Education and Training's renewed statements of commitment towards securing better access to labour market programs for people of non-English Speaking Backgrounds in view of the disproportionately high rate of unemployment experienced by this group.