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Raising the Participation Age: Lived experiences of extended participation within low-level vocational education and training

Dobraszczyk, David (2021) Raising the Participation Age: Lived experiences of extended participation within low-level vocational education and training. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.89888) (KAR id:89888)

Language: English

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The school-to-work transition has been a key area of analysis for sociologists of youth and education, with much attention given to the exclusion and marginalisation of disadvantaged young people. While post-16 participation has been the norm for some time, the introduction of Raising the Participation Age (RPA) has created a new dynamic in the context of Further Education (FE), by requiring extended participation in education or training to the age of 18. Primarily concerned with reducing the number of young people not in education, employment, or training (NEET), and enhancing employability, RPA has implications for what set of experiences lay between inclusionary and exclusionary school-to-work transitions.

However, rich accounts of young people's experiences of extended participation in education and training are absent from recent literature. Such accounts are vital in understanding how young people are responding to the growing centrality of education for labour market opportunities, and to the intensification of policy aimed at extending and expanding educational participation. This ethnographic study examines the lived experiences of young people in low-level vocational education and training (VET), as they are the group most precariously placed on the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion.

The two-year, multi-site ethnography shows that young people in low-level VET, although not NEET, still experience multiple forms of non-participation. The research revealed how deficit constructions of young people, based on notions of disengagement, implicitly and explicitly constrained opportunity and agency. Specifically, the findings highlight how factors such as teacher practices, learning cultures, and school and college policies all played a role in entrenching positions of marginality. All of which raises questions about the efficacy and value of RPA and participation in low-level VET.

The thesis concludes that, to more fully understand the processes and experiences which disrupt or (re)produce marginalisation and exclusion, a more complex and nuanced conceptualisation of (non)participation is required.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Kirton, Derek
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.89888
Uncontrolled keywords: Education, Transitions, Participation, Vocational, Youth, VET, NEET
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2021 10:52 UTC
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2021 09:13 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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