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Maxwell undertakes policy research to benefit early childhood development in WA communities

20 January, 2022

UWA student Maxwell Hinch has provided 100 hours of research towards initiatives that look to strengthen systems of early childhood education, development and care in WA through a McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship at Minderoo.

Maxwell, a Bachelor of Arts student majoring in Law and Society, Political Science and International Relations, said he undertook the internship as an opportunity to challenge himself and learn new skills.

Maxwell primarily supported Minderoo’s Thrive by Five and the Early Years Initiative projects, both of which highlight the importance of early childhood development in ensuring children have the best start to life, advocating for effective policy and investment in early childhood outcomes across Australia.

“The most rewarding element has been working with such incredibly hard-working enthusiastic individuals, each looking to the benefit of the communities they represent and looking to dismantle disadvantage through their roles,” said Maxwell.

The project saw Maxwell undertake research into the systems and services around early childhood education, development and care in WA, considering how different stakeholders should think and consider their roles within the greater goal of dismantling disadvantages within specific communities.

Furthermore, Maxwell researched the services provided in specific communities across WA and looked at any deficiencies or considerable overlap in their service provision.

“This internship and working with communities alike have opened my eyes to the incredible diversity of Western Australia, with so many various cultures impacting so many unique communities,” said Maxwell.

Internship supervisor and Minderoo Policy and Portfolio Manager Juan Larranaga said “Maxwell seemed to quickly take up the complex understanding of what is truly meant to be community led. His work and insights created some amazing visuals which assisted making sense of the complexity of the early years’ service system as it is perceived by the community”.

The internship has shown Maxwell the value of diversity and multiculturalism in early childhood development.

“Although cultural diversity in WA was something I knew existed, it was not until I started this internship that I was able to fully understand how relationships and interactions are shaped in communities from various culturally and experientially diverse backgrounds,” he said.

Maxwell said he looks forward to the research he has undertaken being used to make a positive impact on the communities the Thrive by Five and Early Years Initiative teams look to assist. He is grateful for the internship opportunity.

“I have had the opportunity to address community needs in a manner that is impactful and respectful. Not only are you able to create a real difference within the community but you are able to build professional skills for once your degree is completed,” he said.