Education, Employment and Social Mobility: what is really going on and what can be done?

University of Greenwich Business School Work and Employment Research Unit Seminar Series
Wednesday 13 February 2013, 2 – 6p.m.

Ken Roberts (Liverpool) ‘The real trend in social mobility: from upwards to downwards’
Lefteris Kretsos (Greenwich) ‘The persistent pandemic of Work Precariousness and Insecurity’
Martin Allen (NUT) and Patrick Ainley (Greenwich) on ‘Too Great Expectations of Education’*

Plenary/ summing up: Ian Greer (Greenwich); Liam Burns, (President NUS)
Chair: Maria Papapolydorou (Greenwich)

Return to economic growth is increasingly uncertain and for many people living standards continue to fall. Official figures in late 2012 showed more people than ever employed but often this is only part-time or in other precarious forms of employment, such as contracting and outsourcing. The UK unemployment rate remains over 2.5 million, while the situation is much worse in many other parts of Europe. Young people particularly find themselves ‘overqualified and underemployed’ as social mobility goes into reverse and the occupational class structure goes ‘pear shaped’. Rather than more occupations being ‘professionalised’, previously skilled and professional work is being ‘proletarianised’. According to several studies, not only is the current generation of young people likely to be worse off than their parents, but it is increasingly forced to depend upon them – living at home well beyond what is generally regarded as the period of ‘youth’. These are global trends for which the solution is usually restricted to greater investment in education, training and in employability schemes (apprenticeships, internships, employer subsidies, coaching and financial support for self-employment, etc.). Many still assume that ‘we can educate our way out of recession’ and so demand more resources and a greater commitment to increasing education. At the same time, governments make more demands on education, particularly schools, expecting them to solve the youth crisis or at least to compensate for major failures elsewhere in economy and society.

This day seminar seeks an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the issues faced by young people that result in problematic transitions to employment and adulthood. It further aims to examine the role of education in the context of the current economic and social crisis. The seminar is relevant to all those who work with young people as well as those involved in research into labour markets and precarious employment, education systems and youth studies. There will be presentations but also plenty of time for discussion and lively debate.

* Patrick and Martin will also launch their new e-book: The Great Reversal, young people, education and employment in a declining economy.

Hamilton House, 15 Park Vista, London SE10 9LZ

(Nearest Rail Maze Hill or DLR Cutty Sark Station, several buses and adjacent parking or come by boat/ Thames Clipper to Greenwich Pier.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.