Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 12 Issue 5 (September/October 2002), Pages 309-375

An exploratory study of the perceptions and experiences of further education amongst the young long‐term unemployed (pages 338-352)


The aim of this study was to explore, in depth, the perceptions and experiences of Further Education (FE) amongst the young long‐term unemployed. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with 16 long‐term unemployed youths of 18–25 years of age divided into three groups: those with no experience of FE; those having recently dropped out of FE; and those currently studying in FE. Grounded theoretical analysis highlighted the importance of both responses to and institutional aspects of unemployment. The impact of unemployment, poor previous educational experience and perceived irrelevance of FE are key barriers to learning. Those that enter FE may drop out as a result of both material and psychosocial factors. Those that stay on commonly emphasize both social support and personal agency in decision‐making alongside positive evaluations of FE. In conclusion, limitations of the findings, policy and practical recommendations for successful widening of participation in FE amongst this group are considered. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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