Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
RN30_01a: Work and employment I: Pathways from education
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Sanna Aaltonen, University of Eastern Finland
Location: GM.302
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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Young People's Pathways From Education To Employment: Contexts, Methods, Policy and Explanation

Sarah Irwin

University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Youth research has very effectively described how general structural changes in the labour market, and wider cultural discourses, require young people to manage risks and societal failures as their own individual responsibility. In developing their arguments youth researchers have emphasised the ways in which young people's experiences, subjective understandings, actions and prospects are embedded in, and shaped by, their social position and circumstance. They are extremely critical of policies which trivialise the social structural shaping of unequal pathways and outcomes. In youth research the relevant processes and contexts are often rendered in terms of family background, classed and other inequalities and the economic, social and cultural resources on which young people draw. Employment demand is seen as important, yet it is often described in quite general terms and viewed, methodologically, through young people's accounts and experiences. Employers' involvement in education, their assumptions about skills, recruitment policies and early employment trajectories remain opaque within recent youth research. This is an important gap. Turning to the literature and policy in this area shows it to be characterised by individualising assumptions relating to human capital, skills mismatches and employability. Labour demand problems are framed in terms of labour supply: of young people's skills, competencies and the acquisition of adequate careers information. In the presentation I ask if a more sufficient conceptualisation of employment demand, and alternative research designs, can extend and enhance explanation of the contextual shaping of young people's changing experiences and prospects in paid work and beyond, as well as inform alternative pathways for policy.

The Impact of Lifelong Learning Policies on Youth Life Projects

Siyka Kostadinova Kovacheva

University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria

In the globalized world of today numerous lifelong learning (LLL) policies have been designed to support young people to face social change and overcome the barriers to their social inclusion. Recent policy developments display a trend toward a narrow focus on employability and attempts for a re-standardization of the life course which do not fit with the diverse trajectories of young men and women through the institutions and social structures. How do the young explain their own choices of life projects and how are these affected by school failure, experience of unemployment, migration, change in social relationships with significant others and by the training programs in which they get involved?

This paper examines the subjective interpretation of the individual life courses of participants in learning programs beyond school and the ways in which this participation shapes their aspirations and future plans. It is based on qualitative interviews with 150 young adults conducted in 2017 in 8 European countries as part of the Young_Adulllt research project funded under the Horizon2020 program. The interviewees were selected from the participants in LLL programs in two regions in each country who were from different social background in terms of their gender, class, ethnicity and specific degree of vulnerability. The analysis presents a typology of young adults’ learning biographies and the specific evaluation of programs’ effectiveness by the young participants themselves.

Routes Through Education Into Employment As England Enters The 2020s

Ken Roberts

University of Liverpool, United Kingdom

Throughout the 1980s and 90s there was international interest in the UK’s relatively extensive experience (which began in the 1970s) with measures to alleviate youth unemployment. Today the UK attracts international attention on account of its low rates of youth unemployment and NEET, its (still) relatively rapid education-to-work transitions, and (according to the OECD) its sustainable system for funding mass higher education. This paper overviews the outcomes of 40 years of change in England’s lower and upper secondary education, government-supported training, welfare provisions, economy and labour markets. It is argued that the low unemployment and NEET rates owe much to a weakly regulated labour market’s capacity to create swaths of low paid precarious jobs and self-employment, that young people’s prolonged participation in full-time academic education (by UK historical standards) is largely a response to the absence of attractive alternatives, and conceals a persistent inability to create competitive vocational routes through technical education. However, the paper shows that remedies, if needed, have always been and are still in employers’ hands, and are now being activated by employers.

Use Of New Technologies And Family Sociodemographic Characteristics. A Descriptive Study Of University Youth

Alba Navalón-Mira, Pablo de-Gracia-Soriano, Raúl Ruiz-Callado

University of Alicante, Spain

The aim of this research is to determine if the type of family and the maternal-parental education styles are involved in the use of new technologies in young university students. The starting hypothesis suggests that college students who have socialized in a single-parent family context make greater use of Information and Communication Technologies. To test the goal and the hypothesis proposed, a study was developed using the quantitative methodology, based on the design and application of an ad hoc self-administered questionnaire. The sample is composed of 1,022 students of the University of Alicante enrolled in the academic year 2018-2019, selected by proportional stratified sampling by sex and area of knowledge.

Key words: social change, family, ICT, non-formal education, youth, university students.

Learner Identity: Young Chinese People and Their Path-keepers in School Transition

Ziyu Wang

University of Helsinki, Finland

It has been well-recognized that young people explore their own path, for example through education, as the respond to the individualized societies. In the special case of Chinese individualization, however, the way in which the contemporary Chinese adolescents make their “choice biographies” has been less investigated. Drawing on the analytical concept of identity, this article concentrates on how the ninth-grade young Chinese people plan their transition to post-compulsory education and what are the roles of their parents and teachers in this process. The field work was conducted in a public middle school in a Chinese town, about 250 miles to Beijing. All of the graduators of the school (N=560) expressed their challenges, copings and the support and expectation of their parents and schools in the form of written account. This qualitative method was used to access the big amount of sensitive information in a short time, and gave young people enough time and space to narrate their own history alone. A content analysis is conducted to analyze the data, and the preliminary findings are threefold. First, young people express the leaner identity as the dominance of their present everyday lives, which is tangled with other identities in relation to gender, family and employment. Second, the participants perceive and agree that the involvement of their teachers are limited inside classroom. Third, their parents are considered as the committed keepers who push the adolescents towards high school.

Keywords: education, school transition, subjective experience, qualitative