Atkins, Liz (2008) Travelling hopefully: an exploration of the limited possibilities for Level 1 students in the English further education system. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 13 (2). pp. 195-204. ISSN 1359-6748
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This paper discusses the findings of a small‐scale qualitative study exploring the aspirations and learning identities of three groups of Level 1 students in two English further education (FE) colleges. Emerging identities are explored in the context of classed and gendered dispositions and the educational positioning of the young people. Empirical sections show that the young people’s lifestyle aspirations have a heavy celebrity influence and that their occupational aspirations have an unreal, dreamlike quality associated with a lack of awareness of the trajectories they would need to follow to achieve their ambitions. Further, the paper argues that whilst the young people are developing identities in which learning, leisure, work and domesticity are synonymous, leisure identities assume the greatest importance to them. The paper concludes that this aspect of their young lives is significant since it provides an ‘escape’ from the mundane drudgery of a low‐value vocational programme and the inevitability of a future engaged in low‐paid, low‐skillled work.
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