22 SES 03 B, Employability and Transition to Work of Higher Education Graduates
Parallel Paper Session
The standard expectation of educational policy has often been that individuals move in rather linear manner from one state of education to another. While the patterns of transition have changed, the destandardised character of the youth transitions has in recent research been referred to by such metaphors as ´yoyo- transitions´ (Walther 2009) and ´spirals´ of learning (Quinn 2010). These metaphors have been used in order to picture that something in the youths´ horizon of expectations has been changed.
On the societal level the changes in the transition schemes have taken place in parallel to massification of higher education, globalization, job insecurity, appearance of precarious careers and employment problems of higher education graduates. On the level of educational policy, the equity of educational opportunities has on its counter-side sometimes lead to picturing of the dropping out as an individual failure that is an outcome of bad choices. For policy the discourse of victimization and blaming of individuals may provide a tempting way out (Colley & Hodkinson 2001). At the same time the real challenge of educational policy and designers of education is wider. They need to try to plan students´ allocation to educational careers, keep pace with the changes of labour market and develope guidance and counseling or new modes of education and educational participation to meet the challenge.
The transition regime that is dominant in Finland is an example of the universalistic transition regime which is typical for the Nordic countries. In the Nordic universalistic regime, education and training pathways are planned to be inclusive and flexible to individual choices (Walther 2009). According to international comparative studies young adults also experiment with the transitions when they have an opportunity for these kinds of individualized options (Walther 2009). For individuals the choices and re-choices taken on the occasion of second chances may however be an act of competing for better education and status with respect to labour market.
The research has mostly emphasized the transitions from higher education to labour market on the basis of questionnaires and surveys (e.g. Böckerman, Hämäläinen, & Uusitalo, 2009; Lindberg, 2007; Tuominen, Rautopuro, & Puhakka, 2008; Vuorinen & Valkonen 2007). In our study we explore the prolonged and successfull degree earning, and focus on opting out and re-choice within the span of time that a qualification is normally supposed to take.
The research questions are: (1) What kind of differences are there between universities and polytechnics (universities of applied sciences) as well as between educational fields with respect to prolongation of studies?, (2) How does withdrawal from higher education differ between higher education sectors and study fields? and, (3) Are there fields of education or groups of students where educational re-choices and non-linear transitions are more frequent than elsewhere?
Böckerman, P., Hämäläinen, U., & Uusitalo, R. (2009). Labour market effects of the pol-ytechnic education reform: The finnish experience. Economics of Education Review, 28(6), 672-681. Colley, H., & Hodkinson, P. (2001). Problems with bridging the gap:The reversal of structure and agency in addressing social exclusion. Critical Social Policy, 21(3), 335-359. doi:10.1177/026101830102100304 Lindberg, M. E. (2007). "At the frontier of graduate surveys": Assessing participation and employability of graduates with master's degree in nine european countries. Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning, 53(5), 623-644. Quinn, J. (2010). Rethinking ´failed transitions´ to higher education. In K. Ecclestone, G. Biesta & M. Hughes (Eds.), Transitions and learning through the lifecourse (pp. 118-129). London: Routledge. Tuominen, V., Rautopuro, J., & Puhakka, A. (2008). Perustutkinnon jälkeen - Itä-Suomen yliopistosta työmarkkinoille [After Master's degree - From University of Eastern Fin-land to labour market] : Joensuun ja Kuopion yliopistoista vuosina 2001 ja 2002 valmistuneet viisi vuotta myöhemmin. Joensuu: Joensuun yliopisto. Walther, A. (2009).´It was not my choice, you know?´Young people´s subjective views and decision-making processes in biographical transitions. In Schoon, I. & Silbereisen, R. K. (Ed.), Transitions from school to work. globalisation, individualisation and patterns of diversity. (1st ed., pp. 121-144). New York: Cambridge University Press. Vuorinen, P. & Valkonen, S. (2007). Korkeakoulutuksesta työelämään. [From higher education to working life]. Työhön sijoittuminen ja työelämävalmiudet kaupan ja tekniikan alalla. Koulutuksen tutkimuslaitos. Jyväskylän yliopisto. Tutkimusselosteita 37.
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