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September 06 , 2007

Understanding Employer Engagement in Education

Theories and evidence


This collection focuses on employer engagement in education, how it is delivered and the differentiated impact it has on young people in their progression through schooling and higher education into the labour market. The focus is not narrowly on vocational or technical education or work-related learning, but on how employer engagement (eg, work experience, internships, careers education, workplace visits, mentoring, enterprise education etc) influences the experiences and outcomes of the broad range of young people across mainstream academic learning programmes. The essays explore the different ways in which education can support or constrain social mobility and, in particular, how employer engagement in education can have significant impact upon social mobility – both positive and negative.

Leading international contributors examine issues surrounding employer engagement and social mobility: conceptualisations of employer engagement; trends in social mobility; employer engagement and social class; access and management of work experience; social capital and aspiration; access to employment.

The book makes employer engagement an innovative focus in relation to the well established fields of social mobility and school to work transition. By examining what difference employer engagement makes, the essays raise questions about conventional models and show how research drawing on different fields and disciplines can be brought together to provide a more coherent and convincing account. Building on new theorisations and combining existing and new data, the collection offers a systematic exploration of the influence of socio-economic status on school-to-work transitions, and addresses how educational policy can shape more efficient labour market outcomes. In doing so, it draws on, and speaks to, existing literature which has considered such questions from the perspectives of gender, ethnicity and social disadvantage.

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