Advertisement

Work Matters: Re-thinking the Transformative Potential of Education and Work in the Lives of Young People in Care and Care Leavers’

  • Robbie GilliganEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Children’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research book series (CHIR, volume 22)

Abstract

The prospects for young people in care and care leavers in the worlds of education and work may often seem bleak. The challenges they face in education are widely covered in this book. In the world of work, the picture is also difficult for care leavers. Youth unemployment, generally, is a major challenge across the globe, with its risk greatest for marginalised groups such as care leavers. This conceptual chapter argues that efforts to improve educational outcomes for care experienced young people need rethinking. Current difficulties are not just a result of problems the young people ‘bring’ from their care histories; they may also relate to the nature of the education provision they encounter. Education systems may often lack sufficient vision and flexibility to properly ‘accommodate’ the needs of various marginalised groups including young people in care. Drawing on a range of research and policy evidence, the chapter calls for deeper engagement with the life-long learning model of education. It seeks less emphasis on normative timelines for educational attainment, much stronger integration of opportunities for work and education, and harnessing of the powerful educational potential of work experience in terms of building confidence, motivation and soft skills. A stronger focus on early work opportunities for young people in care can enhance not only educational but also employment prospects. Just as our thinking about timelines etc. needs to loosen up, so too do our understandings of ‘work’ and ‘education’. Work involves a much wider range of valuable activity beyond wage-based employment. Similarly, huge amounts of learning occur outside the classroom. The chapter explores the transformative potential of such fresh thinking for enhancing educational and work outcomes for young people in care and care leavers.

Keywords

Out-of-home-care education work-experience outcomes Ireland 

References

  1. Arnau-Sabatés, L., & Gilligan, R. (2015). What helps young care leavers to enter the world of work? Possible lessons from an exploratory study in Ireland and Catalonia. Children and Youth Services Review, 53, 185–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brady, E., & Gilligan, R. (2018). The life course perspective: An integrative research paradigm for examining the educational experiences of adult care leavers? Children and Youth Services Review, 87, 69–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brady, E., & Gilligan, R. (2019). Exploring diversity in the educational pathways of care-experienced adults: Findings from a life course study of education and care. Children and Youth Services Review, 104.Google Scholar
  4. Cassarino-Perez, L., Crous, G., Goemans, A., Montserrat, C., & Sarriera, J. C. (2018). Pathways from care to education and employment: A meta-analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 95, 407–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Courtney, M. E., Okpych, N. J., Park, K., Harty, J., Feng, H., Torres-García, A., et al. (2018). Findings from the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH): Conditions of youth at age 21. Chicago: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  6. Evans, K. (2007). Concepts of bounded agency in education, work, and the personal lives of young adults. International Journal of Psychology, 42(2), 85–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Farrington, C. A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Nagaoka, J., Keyes, T. S., Johnson, D. W., et al. (2012). Teaching adolescents to become learners: The role of noncognitive factors in shaping school performance – A critical literature review. Chicago: Consortium on Chicago School Research.Google Scholar
  8. Favara, M., Chang, G., & Sánchez, A. (2018). No longer children: What do Young Lives children do when they grow up? Transitions to post-secondary education and the labour market (Research Report). Oxford, UK: Young Lives.Google Scholar
  9. Fields, G. S. (2003). Decent work and development policies. International Labour Review, 142, 239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gilligan, R. (2015, November 30). Comments as respondent at launch of the research report The educational progress of looked after children in England: Linking care and educational data. London: Nuffield Foundation.Google Scholar
  11. Gilligan, R. (2018). The untapped potential of ‘work’ for looked after young people – Challenges and opportunities. Department of Education, University of Oxford. Public seminar, 23 April 2018. Retrieved from: http://reescentre.education.ox.ac.uk/aboutus/the-untapped-potential-of-work-for-looked-after-young-people-challenges-andopportunities/
  12. Häggman-Laitila, A., Salokekkilä, P., & Karki, S. (2018). Transition to adult life of young people leaving foster care: A qualitative systematic review. Children and Youth Services Review, 95, 134–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hearn, M. (1993). Below stairs – Domestic service remembered in Dublin and beyond, 1890–1922. Dublin, Ireland: Lilliput Press.Google Scholar
  14. Jenkins, A. (2017). Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29: ‘Gardening has been my therapy’. The Observer, Sunday 12th March. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/12/allan-jenkins-plot-29-gardening-ismy-therapy-extract-fostering
  15. Johnson, G., & Mendes, P. (2014). Taking control and ‘moving on’: How young people turn around problematic transitions from out-of-home care. Social Work & Society, 12, 1.Google Scholar
  16. Laub, J. H., & Sampson, R. J. (2003). Shared beginnings, divergent lives: Delinquent boys to age 70. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Loudenback, L. (2018). Behind the stats: Mark Courtney on his newest study on transition age foster youth in California. Chronicle for Social Change, August 6th https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/analysis/behind-the-stats-mark-courtney-on-hisnewest-study-on-transition-age-foster-youth-in-california
  18. McGrath, P., & Dervan, C. (1994). Ooh aah Paul McGrath – The black pearl of Inchicore. Edinburgh, UK: Mainstream Publishing.Google Scholar
  19. Mendes, P. (2009). Young people transitioning from state out-of-home care: Jumping hoops to access employment [online]. Family Matters 83: 32–38. Availability: https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=185646960449601;res=IELFSC
  20. Mendis, K., Lehmann, J., & Gardner, F. (2017). Promoting academic success of children in care. British Journal of Social Work, 48(1), 106–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Morrison, S. (2016). In care, aftercare and caring for those in care: My successful care journey. Child Care in Practice, 22(2), 113–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mumford, G. (2018). Interview: Barry Keoghan: ‘You release your problems, playing another person’. The Guardian, Monday September 3rd.Google Scholar
  23. OECD. (2019). Youth unemployment rate (indicator).  https://doi.org/10.1787/c3634df7-en. Accessed on 27 Feb 2019. Retrieved from https://data.oecd.org/unemp/youth-unemploymentrate.html
  24. Pastore, F. (2018). Why is youth unemployment so high and different across countries? IZA World of Labor. Retrieved from https://wol.iza.org/articles/why-is-youthunemployment-so-high-and-different-across-countries/long
  25. Sulimani-Aidan, Y. (2017). Future expectations as a source of resilience among young people leaving care. British Journal of Social Work, 47(4), 1111–1127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tanur, C. (2012). Project Lungisela: Supporting young people leaving state care in South Africa. Child Care in Practice, 18(4), 325–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Verdasco, A. (2018). Communities of belonging in the temporariness of the Danish Asylum System: Shalini’s anchoring points. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2018.1443393 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trinity College Dublin, The University of DublinCollege GreenDublin 2Ireland

Personalised recommendations