Career motivations of mechanical trade stem workers in agricultural occupations in regional Australia

Masters Thesis


Black, Rebecca L.. 2020. Career motivations of mechanical trade stem workers in agricultural occupations in regional Australia. Masters Thesis Master of Psychology/Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/ham4-q960
Title

Career motivations of mechanical trade stem workers in agricultural occupations in regional Australia

TypeMasters Thesis
Authors
AuthorBlack, Rebecca L.
SupervisorMcIlveen, Peter
Hoare, Nancey
McDonald, Nicole
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameMaster of Psychology/Doctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages315
Year2020
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/ham4-q960
Abstract

The development of Australia’s agricultural workforce is central to food and fibre security, and the national economy. Workers within middle skilled professions, such as mechanical trade workers educated via Vocational Education and Training (VET) pathways, are underrepresented in career development research. This research aimed to understand the psychological factors that influence career motivations of mechanical trade Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) occupations in Australian agriculture. The research design was situated in an emergent paradigm, the Vocational Psychology of Agriculture (VPA) and utilised the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) to formulate research questions and hypotheses. Integrative SCCT modelling of persistence enabled mapping of the relationships between seven predictor variables: (a) personality and affective states, (b) contextual barriers and supports, (c) self-efficacy, (d) sources of self-efficacy, (e) outcome expectations, (f) interests, and (g) goal-directed activity, and their direct and indirect influence on satisfaction and persistence intentions (Lent, Miller, et al., 2016). A mixed-method exploratory sequential research design was utilised across two studies. Study One involved semi-structured interviews with a sample of 19 mechanical trade STEM workers, utilising thematic analysis to facilitate operationalisation of the core SCCT constructs within the mechanical trade domain. Study Two involved cross-sectional online surveys with a sample of 302 mechanical trade STEM workers, utilising multiple hierarchical regression and path analysis to test an integrative SCCT model of mechanical trade persistence. While the results were unable to support the role of self-efficacy in predicting satisfaction and persistence intentions of mechanical trade workers, goal-directed work effort was found to mediate the effect of ability-based outcome expectations on satisfaction. Satisfaction remained a key predictor of persistence intentions within the mechanical trade context.

Keywordsvocational psychology, careers, agriculture, vocational education
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520104. Industrial and organisational psychology (incl. human factors)
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Psychology and Counselling
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https://research.usq.edu.au/item/q608v/career-motivations-of-mechanical-trade-stem-workers-in-agricultural-occupations-in-regional-australia

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A Social Cognitive Career Theory study of agricultural mechanical trade workers
Black, Rebecca, Hoare, P. Nancey, McDonald, Nicole and McIlveen, Peter. 2024. "A Social Cognitive Career Theory study of agricultural mechanical trade workers." Journal of Career Assessment. https://doi.org/10.1177/10690727241245962
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