Youth Transitions, VET And The ‘Making’ Of Class: A European Perspective

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


The paper is located within European discussions of Knowledge Based Economies, competitiveness and changes in the youth labour market that impact upon youth transitions to waged employment. This is set within neo-liberalism and precariousness, which leads to insecure employment and ‘broken transitions’ (see Thelen and Busemeyer, 2011). Underdeveloped in VET/FE literature on youth transitions is the way learner dispositions are re-formed, breaking away from previous cultural moorings. Notions of ‘othering’, hierarchicalisation and differentiation are significant. Kehily and Pattman (2006) explore the way academic sixth-formers constitute themselves as middle-class subjects-in-the-making by pathologising working-class dropouts. Research on the psychological costs of educational engagement manifested in a sense of inadequacy similarly points towards the ‘making of class'. Skeggs (2004) illustrates this in her study of working-class girls, with Walkerdine et al (2001) suggesting such processes also affect middle-class girls. These processes may become mapped onto divisions within and across educational institutions (Grubb, 2006) where learners ‘choose’ a particular course on the basis of their assumed capabilities. Such processes may articulated with institutionally shaped transitions and identities influenced by structures such as a selective school systems, highly institutionalised VET systems as in Germany (Schmidt, 2010), or structurally unequal, but notionally comprehensive system as in England.
Period7 Sep 2015
Event titleEducation and Transition: Contribution from Educational Research
Event typeConference
LocationBudapest, Hungary
Degree of RecognitionInternational