22 SES 04 C, Employability and Transition to Work of Higher Education Graduates
In the post-modern era the context of HE graduates has been described as both risked and individualized (Giddens 1991; Beck 1992).The introduction of educational opportunities by welfare states has coincided with demands for self-management of transitions (Ecclestone 2009). Researchers have been arguing whether structural forces operate as powerfully as they used to and are the accounts of individualization misleading (Furlong & Cartmel 1997; Evans 2007). The study reported in the presentation investigates how a cohort of HE graduates has managed in their transitions when society faces deepening recession.
In a research framework the factors effecting educational careers have been distributed to three different levels. These levels are: (i) individual level, (ii) the level of transition regimes and societal environment, and (iii) the level of factors internal to school and education system (Kouvo, Stenström, Virolainen & Vuorinen-Lampila 2011). The factors effecting educational careers on different levels are intertwined. Altogether they have been described to create “bounded agency” (Evans 2007).
In this study the focus is on the level of transition regimes and societal environment, and in particular one side of that - the economic development. On the level of transition regimes and societal environment the effecting factors vary from society to society (Raffe 2008; Walther 2009). They are an outcome of the construction of educational and welfare institutions in each particular society. On the whole this group of factors include characteristic features of national states´ services and institutions, like: system for the organization of student allocation (as a part of the educational governance), supply of education, services of guidance counseling, system for student grants and loans, welfare benefits, obligatory/voluntary military service and economic development of regions and national states. On the side of the economic development some factors effecting on individual level will be considered in the presented study. These include family background (level of education and socio-economic status) and previous education.
The study compares the changes that have taken place in graduates´ and non-graduates´ employment, socio-economic status and income when they are followed from the year 2008 to 2009. In the Finnish economy this was a period of deepening recession. The study focuses on graduates of Universities of Applied Sciences.
The research questions are: (i) what kind of differences are there in the employment, socio-economic status and income between groups of graduates´ and those whose studies have been prolonged, or re-chosen since the beginning of studies in 2008 and 2009? (ii) what kind of differences there are between educational fields when the respective groups are compared in 2008 and in 2009?
Beck, U. 1992. Risk society. Towards a new modernity. London: Sage. Ecclestone, K. 2009. Lost and found in transition. Educational implications of concerns about ´identity´, ´agency´ and ´structure´. In J. Field, J. Gallacher & R. Ingman (eds.) Researching transitions in lifelong learning. London: Routledge, pp. 9-27. Furlong, A. & Cartmel, F.1997. Young people and social change? Individualization and risk in late modernity. Buckingham: Open university press. Giddens, A. 1991. Modernity and self-identity. Cambridge: Polity Press. Evans, K. 2007. Concepts of bounded agency in education, work, and the personal lives of young adults. International Journal of Psychology, 42 (2), pp.85-93. Kouvo, A., Stenström, M.-L., Virolainen, M. & Vuorinen-Lampila, P. 2011. Opintopo-luilta opintourille. Katsaus tutkimukseen. [From study paths to student careers. A glance to research.] Jyväskylän yliopisto: Koulutuksen tutkimuslaitos, tutkimusselos-teita 42. Raffe, D. 2008. The concept of transition. Journal of Education and Work 21 (4), 277-296. 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.
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