Avis, James and Bathmaker, Ann-Marie (2007) A ‘career’ in the Cinderella service: an exploration of lecturing careers in English further education. In: British Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2007, 5 - 8 September 2007, Institute of Education, University of London. (Unpublished)

Further education colleges in England have been the focus of increasing policy attention in recent years. Since the Kennedy Report of 1997 (Kennedy, 1997) there has been renewed debate about their role and purpose, with a major national review in 2005 (Foster, 2005) followed by a government White Paper in 2006 (DfES, 2006). These developments have not changed the wide-ranging contribution of colleges, which extends from 14-19 education and training to occupational skill training for adults, and on to higher, degree level education. Nor have they made working conditions any more secure or stable for those employed to teach in colleges. In a continuing context of multiple demands and purposes, and unremitting change and instability, the ‘careers’ and identities of those teaching in what has been described as the ‘Cinderella’ service may vary considerably from those teaching in other sectors of education – the school or higher education sector. This paper is concerned with the career pathways and development of professional identities amongst people who have recently trained to teach in English further education colleges. It contributes to a growing body of literature concerned with the experience of those working in further education, which explores the nature of professionalism in FE (for example Gleeson et al, 2005), ‘vocational teaching’ identities (for example Colley et al, 2003) and the ways in which change impacts on those working in FE (e.g Edwards et al, 2005), as well as our own earlier work in this area. The paper is based on data from a small-scale longitudinal study, which has involved interviews with people at three stages in their careers, firstly, when they had just embarked on a teacher training programme to teach in further education, secondly towards the end of their programme, and thirdly, a year to 18 months year after completion of their initial training. The interviews were conducted by the two authors, either faceto-face or by telephone. All interviews were recorded and transcribed. The analysis of the data takes a narrative approach to onsidering identity formation, drawing in particular on ideas from the work of Chappell et al (2003) and Holland et al (1998). Their work is used to explore the shaping and construction of identities against the wider policy context of the English education and training system. By relating the formation of individual identities and careers to wider structures which constrain and shape such formations, the analysis aims to explore the interaction of structure and agency in the context of individuals aiming to teaching in further education. The narratives presented suggest an interaction of biography and values within the context of practice, and suggest that both structure and agency are at play in the developing career pathways of those involved in the study. The study provides insights not only into the formation of professional identities, but offers a window into the practices of further education, and the nature of teaching and earning in this context, which has wider implications for understanding the meanings and constructions of education and training in the 21st century.

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