PhD Dissertation: "Making durable transitions from education to work" – Københavns Universitet

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13. januar 2014

PhD Dissertation: "Making durable transitions from education to work"

- How do Young New Danes get and keep jobs after graduation?

PhD Dissertation by Kristina Wimberley

Making the transition from education to work

This thesis explores the processes that make the school to work transition possible and durable for Young New Danes; young people with an immigrant and Muslim background. ‘Possibility’ refers to the process of getting work based on qualifications after graduation from a university, vocational or business college education. ‘Durability’ refers to the processes that facilitate retention and re-entry after losing jobs.

Longitudinal ethnographic research

Processes of inclusion and exclusion in the labour market following graduation were explored from a holistic and longitudinal perspective through longitudinal ethnographic research. 22 young people were followed ‘close-to-real time’ for 2-3 years through onsite fieldwork and location work. Cross-sectional perspectives were gained from an additional 18 young people and 20 adult stakeholders.

A dynamic actor-oriented approach

The study develops a dynamic actor-oriented approach which focuses on the dynamic interaction between career trajectory shapes (transition outcomes) and processes of interactions and effort within a room of manoeuvre.

A room of manoeuvre

The study unfolds the nature and scope of YND’s agency within multiple layers of opportunities and boundaries - a room of manoeuvre – from a synchronic and diachronic perspective. Key aspects dimensions within a shifting economic, political, welfare and labour market context are:

  • Persistence and endurance on the part of the young people to e.g. constantly (re)define themselves as a potentially good worker in spite of and because of their Muslim and immigrant background.
  • Continuous support and stability within family, friendship and work arenas.
  • Pacing and timing three interlocked transition processes to work, family-life and citizenship.

The need for more balanced approaches

The thesis concludes that a more balanced focus is needed on those processes that facilitate and hinder durability in the transition from education to work in research. Longitudinal ethnographic research based on dynamic actor-oriented approaches can help nuance one-sided and piecemeal understandings of such processes and become a basis for new avenues in research, policy and practice.