The Educational and Economic Aspirations of Young People in Wales

  • Oliver Morris

Traethawd ymchwil myfyriwr: Traethawd Ymchwil DoethurolDoethur mewn Athroniaeth


'Aspiration' has become a much-used but little understood term in both policy and wider social research concerning young people. Although often present in discourses concerning young people's futures during the economic downturn it focuses any perceived 'failure' around educational or economic outcomes on the young people themselves rather than policy or socio-spatial considerations. Such distraction away from structural, geographical and socio-economic pressures places yet more undue strain on young people at a critical time of their lives and increases anxieties whilst offering nothing tangible to tackle inequality, poverty and their consistently high unemployment rates. Instead we see traditional support mechanisms and routes to employment being dismantled, altered or rationalised. The ongoing 'Othering' of youth by society also means such changes - whilst not acceptable for many - are accepted by most. This raises fundamental questions of young people's place in society and the citizenship or otherwise offered them by society. Demonisation by the media of both youth and many of the most disadvantaged communities they inhabit leads to a continuation of deep-seated social inequality and provides the scapegoats for a struggling economy. Although the Welsh Government has placed children & young people, well-being & futures at the centre of policy considerations, their efficacy and impact continue to be inconsistent on the ground. Focusing on the rural county of Ceredigion and the post-industrial county borough of Merthyr Tydfil the case-study areas allowed a focus on two very different yet quite typical types of community in Wales that experience socio-economic disadvantage and / or geographic 'peripheralisation'. Engaging with young people in both 'formal' and 'informal', compulsory and non-compulsory, settings a number of focus groups with young people were held in schools, youth clubs, colleges and a university widening access scheme. A range of interviews at national, county and local levels with policy-makers, stakeholders, practitioners and professionals helped to contextualise the experiences of the young people further. Using a predominantly qualitative approach this research aimed to discover what factors influence young people's educational and economic aspirations whilst refusing to take a position of assuming a hierarchy of educational or career 'worth'. Young people and practitioner's views were sought especially to give them 'voice'. As such I have deliberately chosen to utilise large sections of their words where I feel they highlight key issues or concerns encountered
Dyddiad Dyfarnu2020
Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
Sefydliad Dyfarnu
  • Prifysgol Aberystwyth
GoruchwyliwrRhys Jones (Goruchwylydd)

Dyfynnu hyn