1st Edition

Education, Skills and Social Justice in a Polarising World Between Technical Elites and Welfare Vocationalism

By Bill Esmond, Liz Atkins Copyright 2022
    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explains how education policies offering improved transitions to work and higher-level study can widen the gaps between successful and disadvantaged groups of young people.

    Centred on an original study of ongoing further education and apprenticeship reforms in England, the book traces the emergence of distinctive patterns of transition that magnify existing societal inequalities. It illustrates the distinction between mainly male ‘technical elites’ on STEM-based courses and the preparation for low-level service roles described as ‘welfare vocationalism’, whilst digital and creative fields ill-suited to industry learning head for a ‘new economy precariat’. Yet the authors argue that social justice can nevertheless be advanced in the spaces between learning and work.

    The book provides essential insights for academics and postgraduate students researching technical, vocational and higher education. It will also appeal to professionals with interests in contemporary educational policy and emerging practice.

    1. Technical and further education after COVID: New opportunities or new inequalities?
    2. Lessons of European VET? National systems and international prescriptions  
    3. Shifting but impermeable? Higher-vocational barriers and diversions
    4. Further education and skills in England: From ‘craft’ education to polarisation
    5. Enter the technical elites: Fragmentation or a new mobility myth?
    6. Welfare Vocationalism: Preparing for service and caring occupations 
    7. Beyond the divide: Learning for work in the post-industrial economy?
    8. The polarisation of professionalism
    9. Conclusions


    Bill Esmond is Associate Professor in the Institute of Education at the University of Derby, UK. His research interests focus on comparative VET and its intersection with employment and higher education. His publications span higher-level vocational studies, workplace learning and apprenticeship.

    Liz Atkins is Professor of Vocational Education and Social Justice in the Institute of Education at the University of Derby, UK. Her research interests focus on vocational education policy and practice. She is the UK’s foremost authority on education for low-attaining young people.