IR competition creates awareness in schools

High school students across Queensland are increasing awareness of their rights as workers through a competition being run by the Griffith Business School (GBS).

While many people are still trying to understand the latest Industrial Relations (IR) reforms students from Years 11 and 12 will have a chance to delve into them through the GBS 2007 IR Essay Competition.

GBS Department of IR Head Dr Janis Bailey, said the competition’s aim is to raise awareness among high school students of IR issues.

“At a time when increasing numbers of school students are in the workforce – and working ever longer hours – it’s important from a social justice and an economic citizenship perspective to raise young people’s consciousness about these issues,” Dr Bailey said.

“Though many of them work, they are often ignorant of their rights. Students need to know about key issues like how wages are set, who looks after health and safety standards and their enforcement, and how bullying and harassment of young workers can be prevented.”

Dr Bailey said the competition is flexible and designed to fit within the curriculum being taught in schools. Although suggested topics have been provided, teachers may also choose to set a different topic related to IR.

Suggested topics include the IR law reform by the Federal government, the rights of young people in employment, unlawful discrimination, the role and value of unions in Australia, gender pay inequity, current or past industrial disputes and occupational health and safety laws.

A prize of $600 per winning student plus $800 for each of the winners’ schools will be awarded, along with a $300 second place and $200 third place prize. The winning entrant will also receive a book voucher and trophy in addition to the money.

Prizes have been provided by the Queensland Department of Industrial Relations, the Industrial Relations Society of Queensland, the Young Workers’ Advisory Service and the GBS.

Entries close 9 September, 2007 and must be presented as a research essay or analysis of a case study, between 1200 and 2000 words in length, complete with referencing.

For further information contact Julie McGregor, Griffith Business School, on j.mcgregor@griffith.edu.au or (07) 3735 7477.