Swift, John and Fisher, Roy (2012) Choosing vocational education: some views from young people in West Yorkshire. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 17 (2). pp. 207-221. ISSN 1359-6748

How young people make career/occupational choices and why they enter particular
careers/occupations are questions to which the answers are complex. One
hundred and ninety-seven students drawn from two non-selective comprehensive
schools and two further education (FE) colleges in the North of England took
part in a questionnaire survey relating to their perceptions of education and
training. Forty-seven of these students were subsequently interviewed. The data,
collected during 2005 and 2006, suggests a level of student uncertainty that
may arise from being attuned to the ambivalent status surrounding vocational
education and associated careers. There were indications that perceptions of
earning capacity were a key factor in shaping ideas about careers, and that students
aspired to courses that they believed offered the highest potential for
future earnings. The uncertainty evident in young people’s responses to questions
about vocational courses may suggest that schools had failed to adequately
inform them about vocationally-related qualifications, though there are, it is contended,
socially embedded values and attitudes that simultaneously both shape
and cloud their thinking.

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