Boyd, Stephen (2019) Expectation, Interaction and Transition: A Study of University Careers Fairs. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis sets out to explore why those who attend university careers fairs choose to do so; what expectations they have and how these are formed; what motivates attendance; and how they themselves understand these choices. Furthermore, it aims to determine their interpretation of what happens at these events and the extent to which careers fairs facilitate access to the graduate labour market. The main unit of analysis is the individual participant and the findings are drawn from a series of semi-structured interviews with students, graduates, recruiters and careers services; contextualised by observations undertaken at two university careers fairs. The research adopts a Careership theoretical framework (Hodkinson et al, 1996) and utilises a thematic analysis approach (Braun et al, 2019). One of the main findings from this research are that rationales for attending are unique to the individual attending and expectations are manifold for students and recruiters alike, often based on intricate combinations of agency, structure and capital. Also, that there is a rich and multi-layered depth to the interactions that take place during the careers fair, primarily determined by how the protagonists choose to engage with others and the space itself. Finally, that careers fairs are a significant factor in making the transition from university to career, however more can be done to ensure that this transition is fair, inclusive and more effective for all involved.

FINAL THESIS - Boyd.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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