Youth Transitions

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Historical youth transitions from school to work were more straightforward than current transitions. The young person would complete school between 14-18, find a job, move out of the family home, form a relationship then marry by 18-11 In a variety of youth research and literature there is a focus on youth transitions. This popular focus examines how youth progress through various stages until they reach adulthood. One of these transitions is from school to work via education. This essay will examine how gender affects the educational choices youth make in this school to work transition. The essay will consider late modern theory in relation to choice biographies. Traditional linear transitions will be compared to current paths. The impact of policy on gender educational choices will then be discussed. This will be followed by a brief description of gender behaviour differences, which impact education choices. Finally two digital narratives will be analysed, these both tell the stories of two individuals who demonstrated traditional gendered biographies. The essay will then draw the conclusion that gender does impact educational choices made by youth in their school to work transitions.

Within Youth literature there are three main transitional areas discussed. The first is housing transitions. Housing transitions examine youth movement out of the family home and the development of their own home life. This could include the possibility of moving away from the geographical location they grew up in. The second key transition discussed, is the domestic or intimacy transition. This transition examines the formation of relationships with another. The third key transition examined in youth literature is that of the school to work transition. When discussing this transition it includes any secondary education pursued by the youth (Henderson et al 2007, p. 15). This essay will examine these educational choices youth make in the school to work transition.

The educational choices made by a young person are viewed as a key factor in the school to work transition. The process of further education is intended to secure qualifications which provide the youth with the skills and ability to survive and succeed in the labour market (Wyn and White 1997, p. 95). The choices youth make towards further education are influenced by many factors in their lives. These factors include their individual resources such as social capital and the wider support they receive from family and community (Henderson et al 2007, p. 39). Additionally there are structural divisions that influence these educational choices. These include the traditional structures of socio-economic and gender divisions that influence educational choices made by the young person (White and Wyn 2008, p. 139). This paper will focus on the affect gender has on these educational choices.

In discussing youth transitions from a current viewpoint it is important to consider recent relevant theories. This paper will examine the youth choices from a late modern theory perspective. One method of examining youth transitions from this perspective is from the biographical viewpoint. Late modern theorists such as Ulrich Beck (1992) identified that individual biographies are no longer following a linear path, where there were significantly less choices and opportunities for an individual to pursue. This type of biography meant the choices relating to education, work, relationships and domestic life were assumed. Beck has identified current biographies as open to construction by the individual. In fact Beck highlighted that individuals could no longer afford to drift through life without making conscious decisions on their future (Thomson 2007, p. 79).

Another late modern theorist was Anthony Giddens, who suggested that individuals need to take responsibility for their own reflexive projection of self. Like Beck, Giddens saw that individuals are now required to create their own...
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