Transforming employment aspirations: results of the HIPPY Tutors Study

Julie Connolly and Roxanne Chaitowitz

By enlisting and supporting parents as tutors, the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) creates a transitional labour market that helps these parents develop their goals and improve their job opportunities.

At a glance

Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY)  is a two-year early learning and parenting program for children aged between 4 and 5 years from low-income families. It is largely delivered by a peer workforce of home tutors, mostly mothers who are completing the program themselves.

Our study found that:

  • after HIPPY most tutors wanted to get another job in their community
  • through HIPPY, tutors built their skills, relationships and self-knowledge
  • tutors increased their job readiness and their self-confidence
  • tutors felt positive about contributing to their families and community.

Dive deeper

Building parents’ capabilities is central to HIPPY’s impact on families. Employing home tutors who are parents in HIPPY promotes increased economic participation among women who have caring responsibilities for young children, giving them the confidence to pursue their personal goals and transforming their future job aspirations.

The HIPPY Tutors Study found that HIPPY creates a transitional labour market for the home tutors. Tutors also participate in a professional development program (Pathways to Possibilities) that incorporates the principles of substantive personalisation, recommended for effective employment services.

The study used an innovative online narrative collation tool that allows participants to interpret their own contribution before completing a traditional survey. The results confirm that HIPPY builds both tutors’ skills (human capital) and relationships (social capital). Importantly, the level of personal change reported by the tutors indicates that HIPPY also builds their psychological capital – that is, their self-efficacy, hope, optimism and resilience.

The combination of flexible work in a structured program that builds tutors’ personal agency and aligns with their values produces these results.

The intervention is distinctive among labour market programs in Australia, and its success contains lessons for the design of employment services for the same target group.

Last updated on 15 February 2021



Related publications

By Julie Connolly and Shelley Mallett 2020

The most comprehensive study to date has investigated the impact of the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) on the Australian children and parents who take part.

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By Max Liddell, Tony Barnett, Fatoumata Diallo Roost and Juliet McEachran 2011

Read the national evaluation of the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY).

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By Fatoumata Diallo Roost, Nicky McColl Jones, Malita Allan and Eric Dommers 2014

This study examined the factors that affect the recruitment or retention of families in the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) which is now operating in 75 sites across Australia.

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