On Their Own

On Their Own: Making the Transition from School to Work in the Information Age

Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 193
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  • Book Info
    On Their Own
    Book Description:

    Using a sample of 324 young adults in four urban centres who left high school in the mid-1980s as well as interviews with representative parents, former teachers, and employers, the authors identify factors that ease transition from school to. These include level of education, social class, gender, ethnicity, aspirations of parents, help from role models, participation in co-op education, and most important of all, self-motivation. The authors describe a range of youth profiles -- uncommitted, non-careerists, conservatives, and innovators -- that will help youth, parents, and educators identify present development and how to improve performance.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6743-6
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  5. [Illustrations]
    (pp. xiv-2)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 3-13)

    The purposes of this study may be expressed in four questions:

    1 What opportunities are there for youth to prepare for productive and gratifying employment?

    2 How do youth respond?

    3 What are the effects of class, gender, ethnicity, and personal goals and values?

    4 How might controlling structures be changed to widen opportunities and motivate youth?

    We join the search for ways to smooth youth’s journey from home and school into work. Young people enter a maze where taking a false turn could mean a lifetime of disadvantage. Many leave school without a certificate, beginning a life of haphazard,...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Along the Way: Emerging Experiences
    (pp. 14-21)

    Sequential change is normal in nature and society. In this chapter we trace sequences of structural and individual factors midway in youth’s transition to work and conclude with a typology of youth’s journey based on their own accounts.

    Early experiences, as outlined in stage B of the model in Figure 1-1, include structural factors such as the aspirations of influential others and participation in work education. These are structural in that they are part of systems that are largely out of the control of youth. Experiences also include individual factors such as effort at school, marks, and expectations for jobs...

  8. CHAPTER THREE The Family’s Heritage: Class, Gender, and Ethnicity
    (pp. 22-35)

    The young adults quoted here had a typically stressful launching into the working world. Both talk about the influence of the family, but their relations at home were utterly different. One speaks gratefully of his parents’ support. The other, alienated at home, wandered in an episodic journey into underemployment and dependence.

    Socialization into maturity is usually marked by tension between individual wishes and powerful social structures such as family, school, and work. On one hand, individual choices, on the other, social pressure. The tension is most intense and fateful during adolescence. As the model in chapter 1 suggests, the struggle...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Education and Transition: The Salience of Learning
    (pp. 36-50)

    The critical role of education in transition is underlined by its impact on young people’s success in finding full-time jobs. In 1992 64 percent of Canadians who had taken programs in 1990 in trades or semi-skilled occupations were employed full time. This compared with 87 percent of those with doctoral degrees. In between employment rose with the level of education. The pattern was similar in 1984 for 1982 graduates and in 1986 for 1984 graduates.

    “For 1990 graduates employed full time in 1992, median earnings rose by education level. Doctoral graduates led the way, earning $46,000, followed by master’s recipients...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Cooperative Education: A Bridging Program
    (pp. 51-66)

    The problems in youth’s entry into the workforce have been widely researched (Anisef et al. 1982; Canada Employment and Immigration Commission 1983; Ontario, Ministry of Education 1988; Ontario, Ministry of Skills Development 1987, 1989; Canadian Education Association 1983; King and Hughes 1985; Gilbert et al. 1993; Conference Board of Canada 1995B; Crysdale and MacKay 1994; Sharpe et al. 1996). Numerous government efforts have addressed this concern. These initiatives, launched when unemployment is high, serve the need for skill development, chiefly among out-of-work youth, as an alternative to insurance or welfare payments.¹ However, once recessions are over, the programs usually lapse....

  11. CHAPTER SIX Employers and Transition
    (pp. 67-84)

    Because education usually holds centre stage in discussions of transition, research has tended to neglect the essential role of employers. North American societies, we have noted, tend to separate education and employment. This is particularly so in Canada where jurisdiction over education is allocated to the provinces and that over employment and training to the federal government. In the last few years, with awakening concern over transition and training, governments and educators have initiated changes to bridge the gap between school and work. Strangely, most employers are minor players. As pointed out in chapter 5, only a small minority have...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Value Consonance and Transition
    (pp. 85-93)

    The tendency towards consonance, or the ordering of behaviour into consistent patterns, is inherent in societies, which build systems of interaction that provide the continuity and predictability necessary for optimal existence. Why, then, in North America is there extensive disorder in the preparation of youth for adult productivity and status? Maladjustment arises to some extent from differences in opportunity for youth from various subcultures and classes. Where society is segmented on the basis of family inheritance or structured inequality, the rational and just distribution of opportunity often breaks down.

    Most disprivileged youth remain in depressed economic and social strata, regardless...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Testing the Model: Transition as a Cumulative Process
    (pp. 94-104)

    Which are the most important forces that launch youth into productive, satisfying jobs? Following the holistic model outlined in chapter 1, we have seen that structural variables such as social class, gender, and ethnicity have a powerful impact on attainment. Yet youth themselves play the critical part in determining their future. By mid-adolescence they normally accept, reject, or modify the expectations of adults and peers (Anisef et al. 1980; Ashton and Lowe 1991; Ryrie 1983; Crysdale and MacKay 1994). Some who inherit privilege may learn behaviour that gives them a good start. But others drift into unproductive and ungratifying paths....

  14. CHAPTER NINE Comparative Models of Transition: Canada, Britain, and Sweden
    (pp. 105-133)

    In its report on lifelong learning the OECD compares the proportion of 17-year-olds in member countries who were enrolled at school in 1992. This is a clue as to the ability of countries to retain students beyond the legal leaving age of 16, affecting the potential for entrants into the new labour market. In Canada and the US the proportion of 17-year-olds in school was much less than the 80 percent reported for the UK (including part-timers) and 87 percent for Sweden (OECD 19966, 127).

    In Canada and the United States there are examples of effective programs to improve youth’s...

  15. CHAPTER TEN Findings and Conclusions
    (pp. 134-142)

    One distinctive feature ofOn Their Own?is that it analyzes interaction between structures of transition to work and the values and experiences of individual youth. The enquiry began with four questions:

    1 What opportunities are provided youth to prepare for employment that is steady, rewarding, and fulfilling?

    2 How do youth respond to these opportunities or lack of them?

    3 How do class, gender, and ethnicity affect transition?

    4 What policies and programs widen opportunities and motivate young people to take advantage of them?

    This final chapter reviews major findings related to these questions and proposes measures to smooth...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 143-146)
  17. APPENDIX: Additional Tables
    (pp. 147-158)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 159-172)
  19. Index
    (pp. 173-178)