Youth Transitions from Education Perspective

A special issue of Societies (ISSN 2075-4698).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2022) | Viewed by 38165

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Philosophy and History, University of Plovdiv, 4002 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Interests: civic participation; emigration

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Guest Editor
Department of Sociology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: lifelong learning policies; social science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked renewed interest in youth transitions from education to employment—a crucial stage in the life course of individuals and generations. Previous economic crises mostly affected young people’s access to and position in the labor market; the current crisis also disrupted education—the first part of the equation. An unresolved research task is to inquire how closures of educational settings such as kindergartens, schools and universities impacted youth transitions and whether a scarring effect is already discernible, signifying the formation of a “Lockdown generation”.

One major sociological approach examines opportunity structures for youth transitions, as a complex set of socioeconomic conditions, social institutions and public policies, and their impact on the unequal distribution of skills and access to the labor market among youth. A recent trend in this field has been to shift the focus of analysis from the national to the regional and local level, as well as to take into consideration the effects of youth mobility within and outside regions, countries and supranational entities (such as the EU).

Another approach within youth studies is to look beyond the outcomes of the above conditions and examine the dynamics of youth school-to-work transitions, focusing on the interaction between the main actors: parents and peers, teachers and policy professionals, employers and, most importantly, the youth themselves. New developments here focus on young people’s lived experiences of education and training, active participation in learning, constructing learning outcomes, and negotiating with various stakeholders, while carving their more and more inter-related learning and working careers over time.

This Special Issue invites theoretical and empirical papers addressing youth transitions, with due attention paid to current and previous educational challenges and, in particular, contributions allowing the two approaches outlined above to speak to each other.

Contributions have to follow one of the three categories (article/review/conceptual paper) of papers for the journal and address the topic of the Special Issue. Please read more details at: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/societies/instructions.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Siyka Kovacheva
Dr. Xavier Rambla
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • school-to-work transitions
  • opportunity structures
  • regional inequalities
  • lived experiences of learning
  • youth learning and working careers

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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9 pages, 232 KiB  
Editorial
The Dual Nature of Opportunity Structures Amid the Global Pandemic
by Siyka Kovacheva and Xavier Rambla
Societies 2023, 13(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc13010014 - 3 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1330
Abstract
We are living at a time of educational expansion in most parts of the world, which creates new opportunity structures for young people [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Transitions from Education Perspective)

Research

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9 pages, 252 KiB  
Article
Failed Emancipations: Youth Transitions, Migration and the Future in Morocco
by Carles Feixa, José Sánchez-García, Celia Premat and Nele Hansen
Societies 2022, 12(6), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12060159 - 8 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1395
Abstract
Several authors have highlighted the importance of marriage as a social marker that alters the social categorization of individuals and their relationships from youth to adulthood, according to the cultural construction of the life course in Arab countries. This article analyzes the interaction [...] Read more.
Several authors have highlighted the importance of marriage as a social marker that alters the social categorization of individuals and their relationships from youth to adulthood, according to the cultural construction of the life course in Arab countries. This article analyzes the interaction between the socio-political framework (structure) and the capacity for individual action (agency) in the context of biographical experiences for achieving emancipation in Morocco. This perspective responds to different authors’ demands to include young people’s subjective approaches in the analysis process. This study is guided by the following questions: What capacity do young Arabs have to decide the orientation of their life trajectories? Which factors (cultural, family, socioeconomic, educational, etc.) generate young people’s expectations regarding their transition to adult life? What are the social constrictions that lead to failure in the emancipation process, according to Arab societies? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Transitions from Education Perspective)
16 pages, 960 KiB  
Article
Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategies Adopted in a European University Alliance to Facilitate the Higher Education-to-Work Transition
by Anna Siri, Cinzia Leone and Rita Bencivenga
Societies 2022, 12(5), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12050140 - 7 Oct 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4734
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted higher education, imposing the need to add new strategies to academic educational models to facilitate young people’s transitions from education to work. Among the new challenges, the research study focuses on the importance of valuing and incrementing inclusion, [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted higher education, imposing the need to add new strategies to academic educational models to facilitate young people’s transitions from education to work. Among the new challenges, the research study focuses on the importance of valuing and incrementing inclusion, raising awareness of equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) strategies and policies. Many universities have yet to develop inclusive processes and cultures that provide equality of opportunity for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, identity, and cultural background. Since 2019, the European Commission has financed “European Universities”, networks of universities creating international competitive degrees that combine excellent study programmes in different European countries. Today, 340 institutions in 44 European University Alliances (EUAs) promote European values and identity and revolutionise their quality and competitiveness to become the “universities of the future”. This article proposes a comprehensive approach to promote EDI within the EUA “ULYSSEUS” involving Spanish, Italian, Austrian, French, Finnish, and Slovakian universities through micro-actions to apply EDI principles at the project level. The authors will frame the theoretical basis of the experience through documentary analysis and their academic expertise in promoting strategies connected with the European values enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union: pluralism, tolerance, justice, solidarity, non-discrimination and equality. Implementing these values through visible micro-actions could document and counteract the disadvantages underrepresented groups face in academia. In the mid-term, the experience had by the students in the EUA could facilitate the higher education-to-work transition, allowing them to replicate their EDI-related experience as students to their future roles as citizens and workers. The outcome could thus contribute to a life-wide learning perspective for a more inclusive Europe in the long term. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Transitions from Education Perspective)
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21 pages, 577 KiB  
Article
Hermeneutic-Phenomenological Interpretation of Coronavirus Experiences, Their Meanings, and the Prospects of Young Finns in Education and the Labor Market in Lapland
by Helena Marketta Helve
Societies 2022, 12(4), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12040112 - 6 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 5330
Abstract
In this paper I reflect on the methodological concepts of youth research, utilizing a hermeneutic-phenomenological approach to the interpretation of interview data from young adults who have been on short-term work or distant education at Finnish ski resorts in Lapland during the coronacirus [...] Read more.
In this paper I reflect on the methodological concepts of youth research, utilizing a hermeneutic-phenomenological approach to the interpretation of interview data from young adults who have been on short-term work or distant education at Finnish ski resorts in Lapland during the coronacirus pandemic. The study received background from a previous study “From higher education to working life: Work values of young Finns in changing labor markets". I try to distance myself from this research by interpreting young people’s coronavirus experiences and future perspectives hermeneutic-phenomenologically. In the spring of 2021, I interviewed a total of ten (5 women and 5 men) young people aged 19 to 27 I met at the ski resorts. Interviews on young people’s coronavirus experiences and their implications for the transitions from education to employment and future orientations were semi-structured, partly discussions of topics related to education, work and transition to adulthood combined with young people’s COVID-19 experiences and their implications. In the interviews, young people combined their previous life experiences and perceptions of the world with the coronavirus experiences. The coronavirus experiences of young people were situational. The study analyzes the individual experiences of young people with the COVID-19 pandemic, describing them with own youth spoken language, and interpreting the essential contents of the meanings hermeneutic-phenomenologically. The COVID-19 interpretations of young people had positive and negative meanings to their transitions in education and the labor market. The basic themes that cut across the entire material were: (1) The small impact of the pandemic on the young person’s own life. (2) The uncertainty of life and uncertain future and (3) the experienced loneliness, which can provide for youth to confront their true selves. The implications of these results are discussed in the article, which also critically considers the applicability of the hermeneutic-phenomenological research, and discusses about ethical points of the study of young people in exceptional contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Transitions from Education Perspective)
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13 pages, 228 KiB  
Article
Managing Student Mobility during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Immobility Turn in Internationalized Learning?
by David Cairns and Thais França
Societies 2022, 12(4), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12040105 - 11 Jul 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2238
Abstract
This article looked at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the management of internationalized learning, and the disruption to the transitions to adulthood among students reliant upon the freedom to move within and between countries. We started by outlining the place of [...] Read more.
This article looked at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the management of internationalized learning, and the disruption to the transitions to adulthood among students reliant upon the freedom to move within and between countries. We started by outlining the place of mobility in transitions, connected to debates about the ‘Mobility Turn,’ with particular relevance to developments in the European context, including the expansion of successive Erasmus student mobility programmes. Following the start of the pandemic, we hypothesize that we are now experiencing an ‘Immobility Turn’ in youth transitions, which, even if temporary, has the potential to disrupt personal and professional development of many young people in problematizing stays abroad at foreign universities. To explore this issue, we drew on evidence from Portugal, discussing issues including the measures taken by host institutions to maintain a safe environment and secure the integrity of educational courses for their international students, thus keeping open their mobile transition pathways. This research also enables us to illustrate the changes in the materiality of internationalized higher education that took place during the pandemic, and the challenges facing academic staff members. In conclusion, we look towards the future of mobile transitions, recognizing the important role played by staff members, and look towards future developments, including the heightened use of virtual mobility platforms for students with the potential to further transform the meaning of internationalized tertiary education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Transitions from Education Perspective)
19 pages, 306 KiB  
Article
Striding on a Winding Road: Young People’s Transitions from Education to Work in Bulgaria
by Siyka Kovacheva and Darena Hristozova
Societies 2022, 12(4), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12040097 - 23 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2991
Abstract
The transition from education to work in the global economy is no longer a straightforward one-time move for young people. In Bulgaria, this change started with the transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy in the 1990s and was accompanied [...] Read more.
The transition from education to work in the global economy is no longer a straightforward one-time move for young people. In Bulgaria, this change started with the transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy in the 1990s and was accompanied by the arrival of high rates of early school leaving, youth unemployment, and a growing group of disengaged youths (NEETs). The European initiatives in support of youth labour market integration are translated locally, with a narrow focus on “employability” while neglecting the many educational, training, and social needs of young people. The analysis in this paper is informed by the theoretical framework of life course research. It starts with an elaboration of the recontextualisation of EU policies such as the Youth Guarantee in the local realities of socioeconomic structures using Eurostat and national data. Second, we present 4 case studies (selected out of a total of 42 in-depth interviews) of young adults aged 18–30 in order to highlight the ways in which young people’s individual agency filters and influences the institutional policies and practices regulating youth social integration. Our qualitative analysis reveals the multiplicity and diversity of youth journeys into work through the institutions and social structures and the inadequacy of the applied policy measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Transitions from Education Perspective)
15 pages, 278 KiB  
Article
When Arriving Is Not Enough—Constraints in Access to Education and Employment Opportunities for Migrant Youth
by Judith Jacovkis, Alejandro Montes and Xavier Rambla
Societies 2022, 12(3), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12030095 - 20 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1924
Abstract
Due to an array of individual, institutional and structural factors, several constraints hinder the access of migrant youth to education, training and employment in Catalonia. In this article, we explore the conditions in which young migrants access the education and training system in [...] Read more.
Due to an array of individual, institutional and structural factors, several constraints hinder the access of migrant youth to education, training and employment in Catalonia. In this article, we explore the conditions in which young migrants access the education and training system in Catalonia (Spain). Drawing on the theory of opportunity structures, we highlight three constraints that narrow their education and training opportunities. Our approach runs away from individualistic explanations of success or failure. The research draws on 5 focus groups and 10 in-depth interviews with young migrants who were participating in a training scheme in 2019 and 2020. Our results point out three types of conditioning factors that constrain opportunities and sometimes become unsurmountable barriers. Firstly, their migrant status narrows their opportunities for education, training and employment. Secondly, current administrative procedures eventually disrupt the ways in which certain young newcomers follow the mainstream education and training pathways. Finally, certain circumstances have inflicted socio-emotional wounds on young newcomers, not only because they have left their country and suffered from socio-economic deprivation, but also because they have been compelled to suddenly adjust their expectations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Transitions from Education Perspective)
11 pages, 260 KiB  
Article
Thinking about the Future: Young People in Low-Income Families
by Julia Brannen and Rebecca O’Connell
Societies 2022, 12(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12030086 - 31 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 12024
Abstract
This paper examines the orientations to the future of young people living in low-income families in the U.K. and Portugal following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and the contexts in which they are socially reproduced. It is based on data from comparative research [...] Read more.
This paper examines the orientations to the future of young people living in low-income families in the U.K. and Portugal following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and the contexts in which they are socially reproduced. It is based on data from comparative research on families and food poverty, funded by the European Research Council. The study focused on parents and young people aged 11–16 living in low-income families in three European countries (the U.K., Portugal and Norway); only the U.K. and Portuguese data were analysed here. Given the study was concerned with the consequences of low income for food insecurity, we primarily sought to understand how young people manage in the present; however, the project also affords a theoretical and methodological opportunity to explore young people’s thoughts about the future as they begin to transition to adulthood. We found that, when asked about the future, young people responded in different ways: some said they did not think about the future; others mentioned their dreams, but considered them unrealisable. while others expressed hopes that were more concrete and achievable. Precarity constrained the control that young people and their families exercised over their lives. We argue that young people’s aspirations and time horizons are framed in relation to the present and the temporalities of the life course, the public discourses to which they are subjected and the limited access of their families to resources provided by the labour market and the state. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Transitions from Education Perspective)
15 pages, 380 KiB  
Article
Integrating Young People into the Workforce: England’s Twenty-First Century Solutions
by Ken Roberts
Societies 2022, 12(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12020038 - 1 Mar 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2926
Abstract
This paper uses the transition regime concept in a case study of how the regime in England has been reconstructed since the 1980s. It explains how the former transition regime evolved gradually up to the 1970s. Thereafter the regime proved unable to cope [...] Read more.
This paper uses the transition regime concept in a case study of how the regime in England has been reconstructed since the 1980s. It explains how the former transition regime evolved gradually up to the 1970s. Thereafter the regime proved unable to cope with an acceleration of de-industrialisation and the government’s switch to neo-liberal social and economic policies. These changes destroyed many working-class routes into employment. The resultant push onto academic routes, which had the attraction of continuing to lead to jobs, meant that the enlarged numbers exiting the routes could no longer rely on employment that offered secure middle-class futures. The paper explains how the next 30 years became a period of radical regime reconstruction. Government education, training and welfare policies and changes in the economy and occupational structure, were the context in which schools, colleges and higher education institutions, employers and other training providers, together with young people, ‘negotiated’ new routes from points to entry to exits into different classes of employment. At the beginning of the 2020s, the reconstructed regime was delivering the fastest education-to-work transitions in Europe, with lower than average rates of youth unemployment and NEET. Then came the challenges of COVID-19, lockdowns and Brexit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Transitions from Education Perspective)
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Other

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13 pages, 272 KiB  
Concept Paper
Governing the Life Course through Lifelong Learning: A Multilevel and Multidimensional View
by Marcelo Parreira do Amaral and Jenni Tikkanen
Societies 2022, 12(3), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12030084 - 26 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1949
Abstract
The life course in general, and the educational trajectories of young people in particular, comprise a high degree of complexity as they take place in iterative, recursive and interactive negotiation processes in which numerous actors, institutions and discourses are involved. In this paper, [...] Read more.
The life course in general, and the educational trajectories of young people in particular, comprise a high degree of complexity as they take place in iterative, recursive and interactive negotiation processes in which numerous actors, institutions and discourses are involved. In this paper, an attempt is made to combine two conceptual discussions—Life Course and Governance—bringing them to bear on the examination of how Lifelong Learning (LLL) policies have been used to govern young people’s life courses. The paper synthesizes different discussions of the complex relations among governance, discourses and structures of opportunity that impact the governing of the life course and particularly educational trajectories. It suggests that the combination of life course research and a governance perspective enables analyzing the governance of educational trajectories along discursive, institutional and relational dimensions of opportunity structures. Considering these various dimensions, the paper argues, allows us to attend to the social interactions, decision-making processes and processing mechanisms that precede and/or underlie educational processes and thus favor or complicate them. The contribution also critically discusses the implications of a governance perspective on life courses and closes with a discussion of the multidimensional and multilevel challenge of governing life course by means of LLL policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Transitions from Education Perspective)
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