Reid, James (2014) Children and the competent professional: a conceptual framework for challenging current approaches to ‘employability’ for the children’s workforce. In: CSCY 5th International Conference: Researching children's everyday lives: socio-cultural contexts, 1-3 July 2014, Kenwood Hotel Sheffield. (Unpublished)

It is crucial that children and young people have a voice in meeting their needs and aspirations, yet the ‘employability’ agenda problematizes children’s needs and cedes power to employers and government in deciding the skills and qualities required by professionals entering the children and young person’s workforce. This paper proposes a conceptual framework that looks beyond externally defined notions of the competent professional to ‘where’ powerlessness occurs, to ‘how’ to give children and young people a voice and project their experiences into the employability debate.

The issue of powerlessness in the employability agenda is new. Current debates are either framed by the government and employers as necessary to economic prosperity; by universities similarly, or necessary to their own prosperity, or as a challenge to teaching and learning. For many who problematize employability discussion has focussed on the mediating force of neoliberalism in creating a market for and in education where university students have become ‘docile citizens’. There is little, if any, discussion that focuses on the standpoint of children and young people as end users in the employability process. The proposal is for an alternative approach to employability that is social and political rather than objectifying children and their needs.

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CSCY_Sheffield_July_14.pptx - Presentation

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