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education labour markets vocational training youth

Routes through Education into Employment as England Enters the 2020s

Ken Roberts

Throughout the 1980s and 90s there was international interest in the UK’s extensive experience (which began in the 1970s) with measures to allev.


Throughout the 1980s and 90s there was international interest in the UK’s extensive experience (which began in the 1970s) with measures to alleviate youth unemployment. Today the UK attracts international attention on account of its low rates of youth unemployment and NEET, its (still) relatively rapid education-to-work transitions, and (according to the OECD) its sustainable system for funding mass higher education. This paper uses a transitions regime paradigm to overview the outcomes of 40 years of change in England’s lower and upper secondary education, government-supported training, welfare provisions, economy and labour markets. We see how government policies polarise schools and young people into those who are achieving and those who are failing. Then, as employers become more influential, young people are re-sorted into the employment classes that have been formed during 30 years of change in the economy and labour market. Most from the former achieving group are pulled into the centre, between the smaller numbers on the one side who are embarking on elite careers, and on the other those who become part of a precariat class.

Keywords: Education, labour markets, vocational training, youth.

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