Young adults’ decision-making in their transition to world-of-work and the role of key influencers and Scottish policies in shaping and supporting educational choices

Simonen, Petri Olli Ilmari (2023) Young adults’ decision-making in their transition to world-of-work and the role of key influencers and Scottish policies in shaping and supporting educational choices. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis examines young adults’ educational decision-making and the role of key influencers in that process. The study is set in a Scottish context. As such, Scottish strategies and policies governing young adults’ transitions to school are considered in the analysis. The key policies examined in the study are the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) strategy and CIAG (Careers Information, Advice, and Guidance) policies.

I used a qualitative research design with a Critical Realist framework to examine 16 young adults’ journeys from school to Modern Apprenticeship (MA) training. Additionally, 3 policy experts and 12 influencers were interviewed to gain a better understanding of the roles of different influencers in young adults’ decision-making. Data was gathered through semistructured interviews.

Young adults’ decision-making and the role of key influencers were examined through five research questions. These research questions focused on 1) the main reasons young adults seek MA training, 2) identifying the key influencers for young adults, 3) the ways influencers affect young adults’ educational choices, 4) examining the role of institutional influencers in supporting the execution of young adults’ choices, and 5) how the measures introduced by DYW strategy influence young adults’ choices to pursue MA training.

My findings indicate that young adults pursue MA training for both intrinsic and instrumental reasons. Instrumental reasons appear to be predominant in MA pathway selection. The pathway choice is also done to fulfil a long-term aim of a good career.

The key influencers for young adults varied across their journeys. The influencers included personal influencers (parents, siblings, friends, relatives) and institutional influencers (teachers, career advisors, employer representatives, training providers, and employability support workers). Personal influencers became increasingly prominent as the journeys became longer. The main forms of influence consisted of information, practical support, and taking part in reflexive decision-making about career choices.

Institutional influencers played an important role in supporting young adults’ decisionmaking, providing practical assistance, and encouraging certain transition behaviours. The measures introduced by the DYW strategy were found to expose young adults to more careers as intended. However, they also appeared to contribute to the persistent negative perception of apprenticeships training. The implications of the findings for policy and practice are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: This research was funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and SDS (Skills Development Scotland).
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Funder's Name: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Supervisor's Name: Valiente, Professor Oscar and Odena, Professor Oscar
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83905
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2023 12:07
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2023 12:07
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83905

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