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Young people’s access to employment in disadvantaged communities in Wales

Morgan, Rhiannon 2022. Young people’s access to employment in disadvantaged communities in Wales. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The result of a collaboration between the ESRC and the People and Work charity, this thesis explores the narratives of working-class young people as they share their stories and experiences of navigating their personal journey through the education system and into the world of work. The research investigates how young people from working class households fare in gaining employment in local contexts of poor work and job shortages, particularly in one of the most disadvantaged communities in Wales and to understand this from the young person’s point of view. This research, based in a community in the heart of the South Wales Valleys, adds to a wealth of literature documenting the decline of the once industrial communities in South Wales and explores the narratives of the young people who live in a situation of poverty and disadvantage. The thesis argues that these young people’s access to employment is not a straightforward, linear progression from school to employment. Rather, it is marked by unpredictability, impacting upon aspirations that change with time and are made uncertain by a future that is not always imaginable. Class is the silent, salient narrative threading its way through the discourses of aspiration, transition and future thinking, as conceptual underpinnings of community, place and space are interwoven. As an ethnographic enquiry, the research utilises a mixed method approach. It combines secondary data analysis of existing charity data with qualitative data, including ethnographic field notes, observations and biographical narrative interviews with 15 young people who took part in the study. A thematic analysis was used to analyse the young people’s narratives. The thesis concludes that the policy which understands working class aspiration as a deficit to be filled, is misplaced. Rather emphasis should be placed on the support for a politics of hope and possibility.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 May 2022
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2024 03:14

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