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IER Newsletter - September 2017


Work experience, contacts and confidence needed to secure fulfilling employment, researchers find

A new study led by IER raises concerns that employment and career development opportunities for young people are becoming polarised between those with the resources to access secure, fulfilling employment and those on the path to precarious and unpredictable working lives with poor prospects
The report, Present tense, future imperfect? Young people’s pathways into work was published on September 28. It presents the findings of a three-year study examining the youth labour market in the Midlands from the perspectives of young people themselves, and their employers. The project was conducted by a team led by Kate Purcell. The study finds evidence that young people with solid educational and family backgrounds, with the contacts and confidence to seek out career opportunities, are highly likely to gain access to work in secure occupations with good conditions of employment and career development. By contrast, job-seekers without these advantages are increasingly found in low-skilled, low-paid jobs, very often on short-term contracts with no guaranteed hours and with few opportunities for progression. The study finds that for graduates and non-graduates alike, work experience facilitates access to employment. Young graduates were very aware of the importance of building a record of work experience for their CVs and most had enjoyed the benefit of access to high-quality careers advice through their universities, and university contacts with employers. Work experience, sandwich placements and internships often led to graduate jobs or at least to the opportunity to apply for such roles soon after graduation. Non-graduates also appreciated the value of work experience and many of the study participants actively sought out opportunities including unpaid work experience and temporary placements. However, unpaid work experience was difficult to access for young people without family support. This research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Apply for IER's Doctoral Programme

Applications for the Doctoral Programme are now open for entry in October 2018. Further information is available on our webpage. PhD applicants who are interested in applying for a scholarship should look at|

Chancellor's International Scholarships for overseas students, which is open for applications until 19th January 2018.

ESRC Studentships for UK/EU students, which will be open for applications shortly.

Report on Welsh budgetary trade-offs

Daria Luchinskaya has led on a new report examining Welsh budgetary trade-offs looking forward to 2021-22. The report was launched at the Sennedd on 21st September 2017, and is currently being presented to the Welsh Local Government Association and to the Finance Committee of the National Assembly for Wales.
The report modelled possible changes in the Welsh resource budget looking at different possibilities of block grant transfers from the UK, and different kinds of Welsh Government spending decisions, both at the national and at the local level. Further work will build on the model, factoring in developments from the Welsh budget and the UK Autumn Budget. The report was produced by Daria Luchinskaya, Joseph Ogle, Michael Trickey from Wales Public Services 2025, and Ed Gareth Poole and Guto Ifan from the Wales Governance Centre.

European Guidance Week in Tallinn

Jenny Bimrose and Alan Brown attended the European Guidance week, organised in Tallinn, Estonia, 26-29 September. The event was integral to the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Jenny Bimrose was invited to present on the 'LMI for All' project at the opening poster exhibition on good practices on the use of information and communication technology in lifelong guidance. Additionally, Jenny chaired the EmployID presentation: 'Integrating the use of ICT to support professional identity transformation, with Zoe Wareing (Department for Work & Pensions, UK), Katarina Curkovic (Employment Service of Croatia) and Barbara Gogala (Employment Service of Slovenia). This session showcased the application and results of ICT innovations from a major EU-funded four-year project EmployID that informs and supports professional identity transformation in dynamic labour markets. It provides case studies and first-hand experience of 'Coach Central 3', peer coaching and active online communities of practice that drew upon reusable learning resources. It provides access to online tools and resources that can be used in a wide range of differing employment services and lifelong guidance settings.

IER at the EMPLOY Conference

IER Research Fellows Wil Hunt and Daria Luchinskaya presented conference papers at the EMPLOY conference in Seville on 7th and 8th September 2017. The conference opened up dialogue about the findings of the EU-funded study ‘Enhancing the Employability of Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education (EMPLOY)’ which focused on the experiences of non-traditional students, graduates, university staff and employers in six European countries (Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK) using longitudinal biographical narrative methods. Wil Hunt gave a paper on graduates'’ access to paid and unpaid internships after graduation. Daria Luchinskaya'’s presentation focused on working class students'’ access to top jobs and university reputation. Abstracts are available on the conference website. As a result of the conference, the IER researchers have established a dialogue with the researchers engaged on the project, in particular with the research group at the University of Warwick Centre for Lifelong Learning, headed by Dr Barbara Merrill, who coordinated the EMPLOY research project.

IER Doctoral Programme: Congratulations and welcome

IER would like to congratulate Dr Mariam Gbajumo-Sheriff, who has graduated from the IER Doctoral Programme and was awarded her PhD in Employment Research at the University of Warwick Degree Congregation in July 2017. Mariam's thesis "Does work-life balance have a cultural face: Understanding the work-life interface of Nigerian working mothers" can be viewed on the Warwick Research Archive Portal (WRAP). We wish her well on her return to her role as lecturer in the Department of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management, University of Lagos.

The IER is also pleased to welcome two new full-time students, Bhaskar Chakravorty and Xiaotong Zhang onto the MPhil/PhD in Employment Research programme and our visiting student, Xue Han, who will be with us for 12 months on a British Council Newton Fund placement from the Beijing Institute of Technology.

IER in the media

David Owen was quoted in The Guardian in 'Revealed: Britain's most powerful elite is 97% white'.