The Odyssey: School to Work Transitions, Serendipity and Position in the Field

Liz Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Little work on the significance and implications of decision-making has been undertaken since that led by Hodkinson in the 1990s and the experiences of young people on vocational programmes and their reasons for undertaking them remain under theorised and poorly understood. Drawing on the narratives of two young men who participated in a City and Guilds Centre for Skills Development (CSD) study, this paper explores the relationship between their positioning in fields and career decision making. It argues that social positioning is significant in its relationship to decision making, to the way in which young people perceive and construct their careers and to the influence of serendipity on their transitions. Drawing on a range of international studies, it also explores the implications of these findings in terms of young people’s future engagement with the global labour market, giving consideration to (dissonant) international perceptions of VET as contributing to economic growth whilst addressing issues of social exclusion and promoting social justice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Early online date15 Feb 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Feb 2016


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