The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

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

Record type: Article

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

Full text not available from this repository.


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).

More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 28 February 2013


Local EPrints ID: 348360
ISSN: 1360-7804
PURE UUID: ccd861c8-db99-47b4-a6e3-cf2386fa758d

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 Feb 2013 13:28
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 04:52

Export record



Author: Gayna Davey
Author: Alison Fuller

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.