Young men’s education to work transitions in post-industrial Glasgow and Liverpool

Gülgeçer, James Kartal (2023) Young men’s education to work transitions in post-industrial Glasgow and Liverpool. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Young men face a heightened risk of material hardship (McDowell, BonnerThompson and Harris, 2022), and struggle to find secure employment in contemporary service-dominated labour markets following shifts in the UK economy (Nixon, 2018; McDowell, 2020) despite their best efforts (Roberts, 2018). Although these conditions are documented, young men have not been a predominate and specific empirical focus of studies on the socio-economic implications of austerity and longer-term shifts in labour market opportunities (Raynor, 2017). Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data, this mixed methods research investigates and compares young men’s perceptions and experiences of local labour markets in light of recent skills policy changes that have aimed to improve young people’s employability, foster economic growth and stimulate demand for skills (e.g. Scottish Government, 2018; HM Government, 2017). The sample was recruited from Glasgow and Liverpool, two similarly depressed labour markets with comparable histories and economic trajectories (Doucet, van Kempen and Weesep, 2011) and which have demonstrated the plight of young men resulting from deindustrialisation and periods of decline. Located within two member nations of the UK, namely Scotland and England, each regarded as subject to different national policy objectives, this research examines the impact of skills and training initiatives that have aimed at addressing cohesion between skills and sustainable jobs.

This thesis uses a theoretical framework that draws on the Risk Society thesis (Beck, 1992), the Age of Chance gambling theory (Reith, 2002), the Zones of (in)security conceptual lens (Furlong, et al, 2018) and the theory of Surplus Labour (Marx, 1976). The strengths of these theoretical lenses used in combination provide the explanatory power to inform new understandings of contemporary labour market conditions and the unique perspectives of young men who are navigating a multitude of complex structural circumstances. The findings from this research show the interconnections between those structural circumstances experienced by the young men and their agentic responses where they are required to engage as responsible economic subjects and autonomous agents (Rose, 1999; Roberts, 2018). The findings suggest that the individualisation of the young men combined with the unpredictability of employment outcomes has resulted in them being pressurised into engaging in labour market behaviour that is akin to gambling. This research concludes that to address the ‘gamble’ in the move from education to work, more investment is required to increase the quantity of high-quality employment opportunities for young men on both sides of the border. To achieve smoother transitions into such sustainable jobs, more employer-led training provision and stronger links between education and training providers and employers is required alongside parity of esteem for non-university pathways and the encouragement of skills utilisation by employers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Doyle, Dr. Lesley, Wessels, Professor Bridgette and Simms, Professor Melanie
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83774
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2023 11:06
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2023 11:08
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83774

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