23 SES 07 A, Navigating Shifting Geographies of Lifelong Learning Policies Part 1
Symposium to be continued in 23 SES 08 A
It is widely assumed that the group of highly educated people is the least vulnerable group on the labour market due to their low level of unemployment compared with groups with lower levels of education. But this assumption neglects the widespread tendency in recent years for graduates to be often employed in jobs that do not require a university diploma (European Commission 2012). This paper aims to explore the role of lifelong learning policies for preventing and overcoming graduates’ education-job mismatch, and to reveal the local embeddedness of the national lifelong learning policies. The analysis uses Bulgaria and one of its regions – Blagoevgrad – as a case study. The adopted theoretical approach to graduate employability highlights its two sides, the individual’s and the socio-structural aspects (Boyadjieva, Ilieva-Trichkova 2015). Whereas the individual’s side is related to the graduates’ opportunities to act independently and to make choices based on their acquired skills, attitudes and values, the socio-structural side refers to the social conditions and the positions of the graduates in the labour market that are determined by the structure and overall situation of the market and of higher education. The individual side of employability is important because there are different gender sensitive mechanisms leading to job education mismatches. Taking into account the socio-structural side does not allow falling into the trap of ‘blaming the victims’. The paper differentiates between different forms of education–job mismatch and focuses on two of them (Støren and Arnesen, 2011: 200): unemployment (assumed to be the most severe form of mismatch) and vertical educational mismatch, which refers to the lack of correspondence between the acquired level of education and the level required for the job. The analysis is based on both quantitative and qualitative data as it relies on lifelong learning policies, data from the Bulgarian Universities Ranking System and the National Social Security Institute, and interviews with young adults and experts engaged in two lifelong learning programmes. The analysis uses descriptive statistics and multilevel modelling. The paper argues that the labour market misbalances for highly educated people mirror structural problems in the economy and the education and skills formation system. The study reveals that the level of vertical education-job mismatch depends on profiles of higher education institutions and professional field. It also shows that the national lifelong learning policies targeted at graduates who experienced education-job mismatch are embedded in the local social (economic and educational) context.
Boyadjieva, P., Ilieva-Trichkova, P. 2015. “Institutional diversity and graduate employability: The Bulgarian case”. In: R.M.O. Pritchard, M. Klumpp and U. Teichler (Еds.) Diversity and excellence in higher education: Can the challenges be reconciled? Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 153–171. European Commission 2012. EU Youth Report. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. Støren, L. A., Arnesen, C. A. 2011. “Winners and losers”. In: J. Allen and R. Van der Velden (eds.) The flexible professional in the knowledge society. New challenges for higher education. Dordrecht: Springer, 199–240.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
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Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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