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Connecting education and work: Vocational streams and the capabilities approach Mary Leahy L.H. Martin Institute

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Presentation on theme: "Connecting education and work: Vocational streams and the capabilities approach Mary Leahy L.H. Martin Institute"— Presentation transcript:

1 Connecting education and work: Vocational streams and the capabilities approach Mary Leahy L.H. Martin Institute

2 Overview Introduction Context – Government’s response to social, political and economic imperatives Vocations, vocational streams and capabilities – a quick scan of the literature Defining and understanding the relationships – findings and discussion Implications for policy Conclusion 2

3 Introduction NCVER project ‘Vocations: the link between post-compulsory education and the labour market’ –Conceptual analysis –Part of the development of a theoretical framework 3

4 Context - Government’s response to social, political and economic imperatives The Australian Governments seeks to build a more highly educated population to –Improve productivity rates –Increase innovation –Increase social inclusion 10 year reform agenda includes improvements to pathways through tertiary education Assumption that a more highly educated population will be more productive, innovative and have higher rates of social inclusion –Nature of the education –Structure of the labour market –Relationship between educational and occupational progression –Level of inequality 4

5 More context - pathways The promise of pathways is seductive –Second chance for early school leavers –Opportunities to change career or progress to a higher level position However pathways –A long way around for working class kids –Cannot really address inequalities NCVER project findings –Links within education and between education and work are weak Second qualification is more likely to be in the same sector Most VET graduates employed in a job that doesn’t correspond to their qualification Australian labour market characterised by stasis and occupational segregation 5

6 A quick scan of the literature Pathways are a series of transitions –Transitional Labour Market (TLM) approach Transitions require support to be successful –Institutional arrangements may facilitate or hinder successful transitions Focus on the life course Capabilities approach (Sen and Nussbaum) Alternative to flawed theory of utilitarianism Focuses on what people need in order ‘to be and to do’ to live the life they have reason to value Set political goal as capabilities rather than functioning Appreciation of the corrosive effect of entrenched disadvantage Intrinsic value of people Humans are social beings 6

7 Drawing implications from the literature Important to provide people with the skills and knowledge for ongoing employment and social membership Narrow job-specific training cannot –Prepare people for a changing labour market –Equip and empower people to find better ways to do their job (innovation) Shift to a higher level of abstraction –Vocations – a group of occupations in the same broad field and involving a related set of practices –Vocational streams – bring together linked occupations and related educational programs centred on a set of practices e.g. care 7

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9 Implications for policy Stronger rationale for educational and occupational pathways –Emphasises commonalities between the occupations in a vocational stream –Easier to identify educational and occupational pathways –Pathways based on a broad field of practice Expand opportunities –Employers who will be able to draw on a bigger pool of potential employees –Individuals to move horizontally and vertically –Individuals prepared for a career not a specific jobs –Help school leavers make decisions about study and employment 9

10 Conclusion The conceptual framework of vocational streams underpinned by the capabilities approach –Shifts attention to the development of a person’s attributes, knowledge and skills –Shifts attention away from a specific set of job tasks and roles –Highlights the need for social, cultural, economic and political resources 10


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