Special Issue "Youth Transitions from Education Perspective"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2022 | Viewed by 2977

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Siyka Kovacheva
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Philosophy and History, University of Plovdiv, 4002 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Interests: civic participation; emigration
Dr. Xavier Rambla
E-Mail Website
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

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as conceptual papers are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Societies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

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

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Article
Striding on a Winding Road: Young People’s Transitions from Education to Work in Bulgaria
Societies 2022, 12(4), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12040097 - 23 Jun 2022
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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)
Article
When Arriving Is Not Enough—Constraints in Access to Education and Employment Opportunities for Migrant Youth
Societies 2022, 12(3), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12030095 - 20 Jun 2022
Viewed by 331
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)
Article
Thinking about the Future: Young People in Low-Income Families
Societies 2022, 12(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12030086 - 31 May 2022
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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)
Article
Integrating Young People into the Workforce: England’s Twenty-First Century Solutions
Societies 2022, 12(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12020038 - 01 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 903
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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Concept Paper
Governing the Life Course through Lifelong Learning: A Multilevel and Multidimensional View
Societies 2022, 12(3), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12030084 - 26 May 2022
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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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