02 SES 10 C, Permeability, Social Disparities and Racial Stratification
Background and objectives
Across Europe, an apprenticeship should constitute an important route into the labour market for those young people who do not take an academic route. However, research shows that minority ethnic young people are much less likely to start and complete an apprenticeship in both England and Germany than their white indigenous counterparts (Beck et al, 2006; Kalter 2008). This innovative study, the first to compare this issue specifically in England and Germany, explores why this should be. It is well-known that the two countries have very different vocational training systems and organise apprenticeships in different ways: England’s system is more flexible yet complex and difficult to navigate, as well as being very low status, whilst Germany’s is higher status and better-regulated but less flexible. The groups which are categorised as ‘minority ethnic’ are also very different: in England the largest groups are those with Caribbean or Asian heritage, in Germany they are of Turkish or Russian background. Despite these clear differences, minority ethnic groups are under-represented in apprenticeships (Ecotech, 2009; Horn & Horsch, 2010).
Previous research has focused on the differential achievement of the various ethnic groups in compulsory schooling (e.g. Büchner 2003; Gillborn, 2008) and to a certain extent on the transition between compulsory and vocational education (Koeck & Stein 2010). However, in both countries there is a paucity of research on the mechanisms within the apprenticeship systems.
Whilst other research has considered this under-representation from the point of view of a single country, it has tended to remain descriptive and under-critical, and position the individual as an autonomous agent able to making free choices (e. g. Siegert 2009; Perez-del-Aguila et al, 2006). Our study takes a critical approach, and draws on insights from Critical Whiteness Studies (CWS) (e.g. Delgado & Stefancic, 1997), Chisholm’s (1997) work on cultural expectations and Marxist analyses of the way in which social relations are shaped by labour market relations, in order to reconsider the relationship between structure and agency for young people from these social groups.
References Beck, Fuller, Unwin, (2006) Safety in stereotypes?: The impact of gender and ‘race’ on young people’s perceptions of their post-compulsory education and labour market opportunities, BERJ, 32 (5), pp. 667-686 Büchner, P. (2003) Stichwort: Bildung und Soziale Ungleichheit. In: Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft. 6 (1), pp. 5-24. Chisholm, L. (1997) Is this a way of understanding education-work relations? Cultural perspectives on youth transitions in Britain. In Jobert, A. Marry, C. Tanguy, L. Rainbird, H. Education and work in Great Britain, Germany and Italy. London and New York, Routledge. Delgado, R. & Stefancic, J. (Eds.) (1997) Critical white Studies. Looking behind the mirror. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Ecotec (2009), Addressing Inequality in Apprenticeships: Learners’ Views, (LSC, Coventry). Gillborn, D. (2008) Racism and Education: Coincidence or Conspiracy? London: Routledge. Ha, K. N. (2012) Die kolonialen Muster deutscher Arbeitsmigrationspolitik. Steyerl, H. Rodriguez, E. Spricht die subalterne Deutsch? Migration und postkoloniale Kritik. Muenster: Unrast Verlag, pp. 56-107. Horn, S. & Hortsch, H. (2010) Unterstützung von Jugendlichen und jungen Erwachsenen mit Migrationshintergrund beim Übergang von der Schule zum Beruf durch die Erhöhung ihrer Ausbildungsfähigkeit. Bedarfsanalyse für das Projekt AUMIL. Dresden: Techn. Univ. http://www.lernen-technik.de/aumil/info/bedarfsanalyse.pdf. Kalter, F. (2008): Ethnische Ungleichheit auf dem Arbeitsmarkt. In: Abraham, M. & Hinz, T. (Eds.) Arbeitsmarktsoziologie. Probleme, Theorien, empirische Befunde. Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag, pp. 303-332. Köck, M. & Stein, M. (Eds.) (2010) Übergänge von der Schule in Ausbildung, Studium und Beruf. Voraussetzungen und Hilfestellungen. Stuttgart. Klinkhardt. Perez-del-Aguila, R. Monteiro, H. Hughes, M. (2006) Perceptions of apprenticeships by minority ethnic learners. London: Learning and Skills Development Agency. Siegert, M. (2009) Berufliche und akademische Bildung von Migranten in Deutschland. Integrationsreport Teil 5. Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge. Nürnberg.
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