This paper uses Bourdieu's concept of field to analyse findings from an ethnographic study of Entry to Employment (E2E) programmes in England. Entry to Employment is a work-based learning programme which aims to re-engage young people with 'barriers to learning' inhibiting access to further education, training or employment. The paper examines field positions associated with E2E, such as learner and tutor, distinguishing between the taking of positions by individual agents and the construction of these positions by dominant institutions. The paper argues that official constructions are based on a discourse which positions E2E learners as a deficit category alongside young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) and separates E2E programmes from those in mainstream educational provision. In consequence, although learners are supported and make individual progress, E2E contributes to the exclusion that Bourdieu identifies as the chief means of social reproduction in the education system.