‘This is the plan’:mature women’s vocational education choices and decisions about Honours degrees

Welsh, Sally (2020) ‘This is the plan’:mature women’s vocational education choices and decisions about Honours degrees. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 25 (3). pp. 259-278. ISSN 1359-6748

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Abstract

This paper discusses a piece of qualitative research that explored the narratives of a group of mature women when they discussed influences on their post-16 educational decisions. This encompasses their initial vocational education and training (VET) and their choice to study higher education (HE) programmes in England. The research draws on Nancy Fraser’s dual-perspectival notion of social justice to analyse how gender may have affected their educational choices. The research also explores some of the tension experienced in feminist research practice. Data collection was undertaken primarily via semi-structured individual interviews with six female Foundation degree graduates who decided to study an Honours top-up degree. In addition, a research journal was also used to explore a feminist standpoint approach and the research relationships. A thematic analysis of the data found that gender plays a crucial and complicated role in vocational choices. The findings also highlight that although VET is not a second choice, the low pay and misrecognition of ‘pink collar’ work leads the women into HE study. HE is used to gain credibility and employment security. The research concludes that top-up degrees offer the women individualised solutions to the low status and economic precarity vocational education provides.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Research in Post-Compulsory Education
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Research in Post-Compulsory Education on 05/11/2020, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13596748.2020.1802939
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3304
Subjects:
ID Code:
150802
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
18 Jan 2021 11:45
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
14 Oct 2021 05:37