Project 1.3 Getting in and Getting on in the Youth Labour Market: Entry Practices, Under-Employment and Skill Formation in Regional Economies

Project 1.3 Getting in and Getting on in the Youth Labour Market: Entry Practices, Under-Employment and Skill Formation in Regional Economies

Project Name: Project 1.3 Getting in and Getting on in the Youth Labour Market: Entry Practices, Under-Employment and Skill Formation in Regional Economies
Project Leader:
Pauline Leonard
Other Project Team Members:
Rachel Wilde
Project 1.3 Getting in and Getting on in the Youth Labour Market: Entry Practices, Under-Employment and Skill Formation in Regional Economies

Project Details

There is a real need to understand the increasing number of different ways of ‘getting in’ to work.

A number of ‘Youth Labour Markets’ now exist in the UK providing differentiated opportunities for an expanding age group (16-26) seeking and preparing for different forms of work. Mass youth unemployment has been paralleled by a growth in under-employment, with many young workers on temporary part-time contracts, many struggling at the same time to enter a career of choice. Young people are also competing for often limited and highly competitive places through the growing use of different forms of extended entry practices (internships, voluntary work placements, enterprise schemes, employability programmes and apprenticeships) across the public, private and voluntary sectors. The aim of this project is to examine the extent to which strategies for regional economic growth and regeneration depend on, exacerbate or ameliorate these entry route practices for young people, and how young people fare across different regions of the UK in terms of transitioning from education into sustainable work and careers.

Key Research Questions

  1. What types of youth labour market exist in the UK and at a global level?
  2. To what extent are these labour markets differentiated by region and sector?
  3. How do 16-26 year olds gain access to labour markets and how does this differ according to region, educational background, class, gender and race?
  4. To what extent are different forms of entry practices (and associated forms of work participation) generative in providing young people with the social and human capital (including recognised qualifications) required to progress to secure employment?
  5. What types of labour market institutions operate at regional level and how do they relate to young people?
  6. To what extent do regional strategies for economic growth and regeneration depend on, exacerbate or ameliorate competitive entry practices?
  7. What are the challenges for the post-compulsory education and training system and what role does the State play?

Methods

The project employs mixed methods to build case studies of youth labour markets in five contrasting regions of the UK. All regions have different economic profiles, but share long-term problems of youth unemployment and neighbourhoods with high levels of deprivation. All have developed specific youth employability policies to tackle these issues. The project focuses on volunteering as a key strategy for young people in Glasgow; employability training in the North East; internships in London; apprenticeships in the Midlands and an enterprise scheme in the South.  Across the regions, over 50 semi-structured interviews will be conducted with 16-26 year olds, informed by quantitative analysis of LFS and regional data and ethnographies will be conducted in 5 employability organisations. Interviews will also be conducted with key stakeholders. Through collaboration with project 1.2, the project will be extended to explore further the impact of the recession on youth employability and volunteering as a specific initiative to tackle youth unemployment. 

 

Research findings

Project publications:

Key Findings

The youth employability schemes offered by different regional economies across the UK vary considerably in terms of the opportunities and outcomes they offer to young people. While some young people gain access to high quality training and a secure job as an outcome of their programme, many exit only to remain on the ringroads of un/employment: another part-time job or short term contract. Across the regions we investigated, two factors are key to this income. On the supply side, social class is key. On the demand side, whether the programme is offered ‘in-house’ or by a third sector agency is also critical. In the former, employers recognise that they profit from access to talent and can respond quickly to offer employment.  In the latter, in spite of the fact that employability programmes benefit from high quality staff and unwavering commitment, that they need to rely on a network of committed employers to offer good training and work experience presents intractable problems. Employers need to step up and into the youth employment agenda.

Conference and Seminar Presentations

Wilde, R. and Leonard, P. (2014) “Getting in and Getting on” Anthropology in London, June

Wilde, R. and Leonard, P. (2014) Youth Entry and Progression in the British Labour Market BERA Conference, London, September

Leonard, P. and Wilde, R. (2014) “Filling the ‘empty box’: volunteering as a route into paid work” Invited Presentation to ESRC Seminar Series How Does Volunteering Link to Paid Work? NCVO, London, October

Leonard, P. and Wilde, R. (2015) Employability in the Borderlands of Work 4th International Conference on Geographies of Children, Young People and Families, ‘Border Crossings’: Transitions of Children and Youth in Times of Crisis, San Diego, California: January 12-15th,

Wilde, R. and Leonard, P. (2015) Aspiring to the Good Life: Becoming Employable in Youth Labour Markets PSA Conference Invited Panel Speaker, March

Leonard, P. and Wilde, R. (2015)Because nobody has ever done it for them before” : Young People’s Enterprise Scheme in Solent. Invited presentation to: Work Futures Research Centre University of Southampton Gender Work and Generation 8 May 2015

Wilde, R. and Leonard, P. (2015) Getting in and getting on in the youth labour market: progression or regression? BSA Conference, Glasgow, April

Leonard, P. and Wilde, R. (2016) Helicoptering or no rescue?: Class habitus, young people and internships BSA Conference, Invited Panel Speakers Birmingham, April

Leonard, P. and Wilde, R. (2017) Negotiating routes into work: young people’s trajectories in neoliberal contexts Special Event Organisers BSA Conference, Manchester

Leonard, P (2017) ‘Neither here nor there’: The liminal spaces of youth employability organizations BSA Conference, Manchester, April

Wilde, R (2017) Hoping vs Aspiring? Gendered Forms of Youth Enterprise BSA Conference, Manchester, April

Leonard, P. and Wilde, R. (2017) Getting in and Getting on in the Youth Labour Market: Entry Practices, Under-Employment and Skill Formation in Regional Economies” Invited Paper at Symposium on Disrupting Transitions: young people, education and employment University of Sheffield, May

Publication Outputs

Monographs

Leonard, P. and Wilde, R. (2015) , Project Report, London, UCL, LLAKES

Leonard, P. and Wilde, R. (2017) ,  London, UCL, LLAKES

Journal articles

Hoskins, B., Leonard, P. & Wilde, R. (2017).  British Educational Research Journal, 1-24.  DOI: 10.1002/berj.3318. 

Wilde, R. & Leonard, P. (2017).  Journal of Education and Work.  DOI: 10.1080/13639080.2017.1421311. 

Books

Leonard, P., & Wilde, R. (Forthcoming 2019) ‘Getting in and getting on in the youth labour market : Governing young people's employability in regional context’, Bristol University Press