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Choosing a career in Saudi Arabia: the role of structure and agency in young people's perceptions of technical and vocational education

Almoaibed, Hanaa Abdulla; (2020) Choosing a career in Saudi Arabia: the role of structure and agency in young people's perceptions of technical and vocational education. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Although the Saudi education system has provided an opportunity to pursue varying pathways for young people, there is a limited understanding of young people’s post-secondary education and employment trajectories in Saudi Arabia. Challenges to implementing educational strategies and reforms include a large youth population, diverse stakeholders, economic diversification and limited education and employment opportunities. With the launch of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, education and labour policy efforts included an expansion to the vocational education and training (TVET) sector to stimulate economic growth and increase the employment of young Saudi citizens in place of foreign employees. However, the relatively low enrolment in vocational education and training (TVET) and its weak status can provide insight into the way young people make decisions about their education to work transitions and highlights a variety of individual and structural challenges young people continuously negotiate in the rapidly changing country. Quantitative empirical research studies fall short in explaining the motivations behind young people’s choices and the extent to which choice is available. This research addresses this gap, employing a qualitative constructivist methodology. Through 18 focus groups and 16 individual interviews, this thesis shares the sentiments of 152 young men and women in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia who were enrolled in initial TVET as well as secondary students at a transition point where TVET became an option. The findings indicate that ‘choice’ is often illusionary, as youth aspirations are not always in line with opportunities and are influenced by the dominant characteristics of the education pathways and the labour market. Young people are influenced by embedded cultural factors such as social networks, family and gender. In making choices that are socially acceptable, young people minimise potential risks and social sanctions by ‘colouring within the lines’ of social acceptability rather than re-drawing them.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Choosing a career in Saudi Arabia: the role of structure and agency in young people's perceptions of technical and vocational education
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10091016
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