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PhD Studentship - Opportunity Exploring Young People's School to Work Transitions

King's College London - King's College London, School of Education, Communication and Society (Centre for Public Policy Research)

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £17,675
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 13th August 2019
Closes: 7th October 2019

This 4 year PhD study starting January 2020 is linked to a larger five-year ESRC-funded project that will be investigating how England’s vocational education and training (VET) system can better support the transitions into further education and work of the 50 per cent of young people who do not go to university. Routes into further education, training and employment for these young people are often characterised by complexity, instability, uncertain prospects and drop-out. The research will focus on the 16-20 age group and will have a particular emphasis on engaging with the perspectives of young people themselves, including those who are marginalised and whose input is often not heard in policymaking. These young people are more likely to fall between gaps in the system and not be in education, employment or training, which is associated with a range of negative outcomes and lifetime costs. Of particular concern are the disparities in education and skill levels that can prevent those from disadvantaged regions, women and black and minority ethnic and disabled people from accessing high-skill employment. The project will provide new understandings of how these disparities are produced and how they might be reduced.

The larger project will use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to analyse how intersecting inequalities, local VET and employment opportunity structures and young people’s own values and agency interact to create very different experiences and outcomes for differently positioned young people. The PhD study will sit within the qualitative strand of the research and draw primarily on in-depth interviews with young people in up to four contrasting local authorities who are considering non-university post-16 VET routes and/or are classified as ‘not in education, employment or training’ (NEET) or at risk of being ‘NEET’. The study will explore the young people’s perspectives and experiences, including, for example, their experiences of inclusion and participation and of how multiple inequalities and identity categories are ‘lived together’ in everyday VET and employment settings.

Each year we will work with an advisory group of ten 16-20 year olds to discuss emergent design issues and policy and practice implications, produce different kinds of resources (e.g. information sheets) targeting young people and their parents based on the research findings, and plan and participate in dedicated youth-led slots within the annual meetings of the project’s adult advisory panel, thereby ensuring that the research is informed by young people throughout. The successful applicant will help to convene these groups. The student will be co-supervised by Prof Sharon Gewirtz and Dr Tania de St Croix. 

The PhD is co-funded by King’s College London and the Edge Foundation, an independent charity specialising in sharing effective practice and influencing VET policy. 

Location: London

Funding for: UK Students, EU Students

Funding amount: £17,675 tax free stipend pa for four years, home/EU tuition fees up to £1,000 pa for training/support and up to £1,600 for an overseas institutional visit

Hours: full-time

Closing Date: 7th October 2019, interviews 23rd October 

For more information, entry requirements and details on how to apply:

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