Hybrid qualifications, institutional expectations and youth transitions: a case of swimming with or against the tide

Davey, Gayna and Fuller, Alison (2013) Hybrid qualifications, institutional expectations and youth transitions: a case of swimming with or against the tide Sociological Research Online, 18, (1) (doi:10.5153/sro.2876).


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This paper uses the concept of hybrid qualifications to expose some of the ways in which the English system, with its longstanding academic and vocational divide, fails to support the transitions of young people with 'average' educational attainment. The concept of hybrid qualifications was developed during EU funded research undertaken in 2010 - 11 with project partners from Germany, Austria and Denmark. It was conceived to mean those qualifications generally achieved by young people aged 16-18 which would facilitate entry to the labour market or access to university. In the English system we defined Level 3 qualifications such as the BTEC National suite of Diplomas, Applied A-Levels, the Advanced Diploma and some qualifications contained within the Advanced Apprenticeship programme as contenders for hybridity. Compared with the clear pathways for entry to bachelor degrees that are articulated for those who have attained traditional academic qualifications (namely A-levels), the routes for those leaving school with vocational qualifications are poorly and narrowly-defined, and fragile. Using the rich, narrative data gathered from interviews and focus groups with students, tutors and key stakeholders, we illustrate how for this group transition often involves 'swimming against rather than with the tide'. To make sense of their uncertain and at times fragmented journeys we draw on Bourdieu's conceptual toolbox, and argue that his notion of 'doxa' is especially helpful in making sense of the way in which educational institutions play their own very distinctive roles in shaping those transitions

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.5153/sro.2876
ISSNs: 1360-7804 (print)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
ePrint ID: 348360
Date :
Date Event
28 February 2013e-pub ahead of print
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2013 13:28
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 16:04
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/348360

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