1 University of Lisbon, Education Institute (PORTUGAL)
2 Polytechnic Institute of Setubal, College of Business Administration (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 7626-7635
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1781
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
This communication is part of the research project YOUNG_ADULLLT (EU’s Horizon 2020). The purpose of this project is to understand the interaction between lifelong learning policies, the conditions and life stages of young adults in situations of vulnerability, and the promotion of social development and inclusion in the European Union. This communication focuses on the analysis of life and educational paths of young adults who attend double certification VET Adult (EFA) courses in a public training center in the sub-region of Alentejo Litoral, in Portugal. The analysis developed is based on the Theory of the Life Course (Heinz et al., 2009; Walther, 2002, 2006). The adoption of this theoretical framework allows us to emphasize the agency and the role of the individual in the construction of one's own biography in interaction with the social context and the existing institutional arrangements. It also favors the understanding of the fragmentation and de-standardization of their life courses. This discussion is supported by an empirical corpus constructed on the basis of in-depth biographical interviews with young adults between 18 and 29 years old, attending double certification EFA courses, which have been object of a thematic content analysis (Bardin, 2009). The analysis of the data collected reveals biographies marked by geographic mobility and by events that constitute true turning points in their life paths: separation of the parents, death of one of them or teen pregnancy. From the school viewpoint, their trajectories are characterized by several school failures, dropouts and re-enterings and by a general feeling of disaffiliation towards regular school. Admission to double certification EFA courses occurs, for the majority of these young adults, after having experienced precarious and / or seasonal work experiences and poorly paid work. The achievement of a high school diploma is the main motivation for a return to formal education and to enroll in a training course, in order to have access to a better job in future, essential to have their own family and a stable life. In addition, to learn a profession corresponds in some cases to the fulfillment of a vocation, but in others it is no more than a non-choice. In the first case, the choice of the course is intentional and is at the service of a project where personal and professional development takes a prominent place. The strategies they develop are imbued with strategic rationality and reveal the ability to take advantage of the existing opportunity structures. In the second case, the profession for which they are being trained was the only one they had access to or the least worse choice, given their academic qualifications and the available training offer. The mismatch between the offered and the desired training provokes in the young adults a feeling of frustration with the present and of uncertainty about the future. However, in both situations, the life courses of these young adults are marked by de-standardization and non-linearity aiming to fulfill the plan of a linear life course of education-job-house-car-family.
Adult VET (EFA) double certification courses, Life Course, Young Adults.