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What we hope to get out of this research

Our starting principles...

This research is guided by the principle that, to make education-to-work transitions more equitable, we need to fully engage with:

  • Different dimensions of equality and the challenges of realising equality in practice.

  • Combinations of different kinds of advantages and disadvantages experienced by young people across England.

  • How the range of possible opportunities open to different young people interacts with their life experiences, values and agency.

We'll be working with young people...

We will work collaboratively with groups of young people to help them reflect on their transitions, increase awareness of effective strategies for navigating transitions and support the development of their advocacy skills.

...and with policymakers...

The research will help policymakers develop greater insight into young people’s lives and support reflection on how the tensions involved in simultaneously addressing different dimensions of inequality can best be managed. This will in turn help to ensure that policy is more sensitive both to the complexity of young people’s experiences and the complexity of inequality; and hence more successful in creating more navigable and equitable education-to-work transitions for young people not taking the university route.

...and with education practitioners, too

The research team will also engage closely with practitioners working in vocational education settings, with employers, trade unions and other organisations that play a role in supporting young people, and with grant-making organisations in the field. This engagement will be focussed on:


  • Helping to improve support for learners in schools and colleges.

  • The career development and learning of young people in the workplace.

  • Careers guidance and transitions support for those not in formal education or, for other reasons, unlikely to engage with school or college-based advice.

  • Building capacity in the effective use of research to inform policy and practice development.

  • Providing evidence of the kinds of initiatives young people experience as most effective.

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