Being someone or doing something: How students in municipal adult education view their future vocation
Keywords:adult education, vocational education and training, vocational identity, municipal adult education
AbstractBeing an adult, deciding what to do with your life, and trying to understand the consequences of educational choices can be difficult. Vocational education and training (VET) programmes within the Swedish municipal adult education (MAE) offer an opportunity to learn a vocation, and last 6–18 months. This study aims to explore how adult VET students perceive desirable vocational habitus and is based on 18 interviews comparing students from two vocational MAE programmes in assistant nursing and floor laying. Semi-structured interviews were conducted at the beginning of the students’ training and data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. The results show that choosing a VET programme is a process of choosing what you want to do for work but also who you want to be. However, whether or not students see themselves as suitable is contrasted between how they perceive their future vocation and what the vocational community expects from them, which in turn affects their learning process and development of a vocational identity. Noticing the discrepancies between students’ perceptions and vocational expectations can both reduce the risk of losing students during training and reduces the risk of reproducing unequal ideals.
Alvesson, M., & Robertson, M. (2015). Money matters: Teflonic identity manoeuvring in the investment banking sector. Organization Studies, 37(1), 7–34. https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840615593591
Assarsson, L., & Sipos-Zackrisson, K. (2005). Iscensättande av identiteter i vuxenstudier [Staging identities in adult education] [Doctoral dissertation, Linköping University].
Andersson, P., & Muhrman, K. (2019). Marketization of vocational adult education in Sweden: Pedagogical concerns and market demands in VET. In Proceedings of the 3rd Crossing Boundaries in VET conference. Vocational Education and Training Network – VETNET. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2640958
Billett, S. (2010). Lifelong learning and self: Work, subjectivity and learning. Studies in Continuing Education, 32(1), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/01580370903534223
Billett, S. (2011). Vocational education: Purposes, traditions and prospects. Springer.
Billett, S., & Pavlova, M. (2005). Learning through working life: Self and individuals’ agentic action. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 24(3), 195–211. https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370500134891
Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. Harvard University Press.
Bourdieu, P. (1992). The logic of practice. Polity.
Broady, D. (1998). Kapitalbegreppet som utbildningssociologiskt verktyg [The concept of capital as a tool in sociology of education]. ILU, Uppsala universitet.
Carlhed, C. (2011). Fält, habitus och kapital som kompletterande redskap i professionsforskning [Field, habitus and capital as complementary tools in research on professions]. Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift, 18(4), 283–300. https://doi.org/10.3384/svt.2011.18.4.2462
Carter, M. (2014). Vocation and altruism in nursing: The habits of practice. Nursing ethics, 21(6), 695–706. https://doi.org/10.1177/0969733013516159
Cedefop. (2022). The future of vocational education and training in Europe: Volume 2. Delivering IVET: Institutional diversification and/or expansion? (Cedefop research paper No 84). Publications Office. http://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2801/780431
Chan, S. (2014). Crafting an occupational identity: Learning the precepts of craftsmanship through apprenticeship. Vocations and Learning, 7(3), 313–330.
Chan, S. (2019). From job to calling: Vocational identity and the role of apprenticeship. Vocations and Learning, 12(3), 387–403. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12186-019-09220-5
Colley, H., James, D., Diment, K., & Tedder, M. (2003). Learning as becoming in vocational education and training: Class, gender and the role of vocational habitus. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 55(4), 471–498. https://doi.org/10.1080/13636820300200240
Colliander, H. (2018). Being and becoming a teacher in initial literacy and second language education for adults [Doctoral dissertation, Linköping University].
Ferm, L. (2021). Vocational students’ ways of handling the academic/vocational divide. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training, 8(1), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.13152/IJRVET.8.1.1
Fjellström, M. (2017). Becoming a construction worker: A study of vocational learning in school and work life [Doctoral thesis, Umeå University].
Fuller, A., Hodkinson, H., Hodkinson, P., & Unwin, L. (2005). Learning as peripheral participation in communities of practice: A reassessment of key concepts in workplace learning. British Educational Research Journal, 31(1), 49–68. https://doi.org/10.1080/0141192052000310029
Hägerström, J. (2004). Vi och dom och alla dom andra andra på komvux: Etnicitet, genus och klass i samspel [Us and them and all the other others at komvux: Ethnicity, gender and class in interaction] [Doctoral dissertation, Lund University].
Huppatz, K. (2010). Respectability and the paid caring occupations: An empirical investigation of normality, morality, impression management, esteem in nursing and social work. Health Sociology Review: The Journal of the Health Section of the Australian Sociological Association, 19(1), 73–85.
Huppatz, K., & Goodwin, S. (2013). Masculinised jobs, feminised jobs and men’s ‘gender capital’ experiences: Understanding occupational segregation in Australia. Journal of Sociology, 49(2–3), 291–308. https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783313481743
Hvitved, L. V. (2014). Elevattituder på erhvervsuddannelserne [Student attitudes in vocational education] [Doctoral dissertation, Aarhus Universitet].
Jenkins, R. (2008). Social identity. Routledge.
Klope, E. (2015). I skuggan av ett yrke: Om gymnasieelevers identitetsskapande på hantverksprogrammet frisör [In the shadow of a vocation: Identity creation within the vocational education and training for hairdressers] [Licentiate thesis, Stockholm University].
Kristmansson, P. (2016). Gymnasial lärlingsutbildning på Handels- och administrationsprogrammet: En studie av lärlingsutbildningens förutsättningar och utvecklingen av yrkeskunnande [Upper secondary apprenticeship education in the business and administration programme: A study of preconditions of upper secondary apprenticeship education and development of professional skills] [Doctoral dissertation, Umeå University].
Lagercrantz All, K. (2017). Delaktighet- och lärprocesser i en yrkesutbildning: En studie av vuxna elevers erfarenheter av vård- och omsorgsutbildningen inom Komvux [Participation and learning processes in vocational education: A study of student exeperiences of an adult-education program in health and social care] [Doctoral dissertation, Stockholm University].
Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge University Press.
Lensjø, M. (2020). Stories of learning: A case study of Norwegian plumbers and apprentices in TVET at the construction site and in a training agency. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training, 7(2), 148–166. https://doi.org/10.13152/IJRVET.7.2.2
Muhrman, K., & Andersson, P. (2022). Adult education in Sweden in the wake of marketisation. Studies in the Education of Adults, 54(1), 25–42. https://doi.org/10.1080/02660830.2021.1984060
Nitzler, R., & Frykholm, C.-U. (1993). Working life as pedagogical discourse: Empirical studies of vocational and career education based on theories of Bourdieu and Bernstein. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 25(5), 433–444.
OECD. (2021). Education at a glance 2021.
Rehn, H., & Eliasson, E. (2015). Caring disposition and subordination: Swedish healt and social care teachers’ conceptions of important vocational knowledge. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 67(4), 558–577. https://doi.org/10.1080/13636820.2015.1091031
Sandberg, F. (2016). Recognition and adult education: An incongruent oppor-tunity. Studies in Continuing Education, 38(3), 265–280. https://doi.org/10.1080/0158037X.2016.1160881
Statistiska Centralbyrån. (2015). Vård- och omsorgsutbildade: Idag och i framtiden [Trained health and social care workers: Today and in the future] (Temarapport 2015:4 Arbetsmarknad).
Skeggs, B. (1997). Formations of class and gender: Becoming respectable. Sage.
Swedish National Agency of Education. (2017). Läroplan för vuxenutbildningen: Reviderad 2017 [National curriculum for adult education: Revised 2017].
Swedish National Agency of Education. (2018). Kursdeltagare kalenderåren 2008–2017 som slutfört, avbrutit eller fortsätter utbildningen [Course participants in calendar years 2008–2017 who have completed, discontinued or continued the training]. https://siris.skolverket.se/siris/sitevision_doc.getFile?p_id=548219
Swedish National Agency of Education. (2021). Nationella yrkespaket för komvux [National vocational packages for municipal adult education]. https://www.skolverket.se/undervisning/vuxenutbildningen/komvux-gymnasial/nationella-yrkespaket-for-komvux#skvtableofcontent1597
Swedish National Agency of Education. (2022). Elever i komvux kalenderåren 2018–2021 [Students in komvux calendar years 2018–2021]. https://siris.skolverket.se/siris/sitevision_doc.getFile?p_id=551269
Somerville, M. (2006). Becoming-worker: Vocational training for workers in aged care. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 58(4), 471–481. https://doi.org/10.1080/13636820601005818
Thunborg, C. (1999). Lärande av yrkesidentiteter: En studie av läkare, sjuksköterskor och undersköterskor [Learning occupational identities: A study of physicians, nurses and assistant nurses] [Doctoral dissertation, Linköping University].
Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cam-bridge University Press.
Wenger, E. (2000). Communities of practice and social learning systems. Or-ganization, 7(2), 225–246. https://doi.org/10.1177/135050840072002
Wenger, E. (2010). Conceptual tools for CoPs as social learning systems: Boundaries, identity, trajectories and participation. In C. Blackmore (Ed.), Social learning systems and communities of practice (pp. 125–143). Springer.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Tobias Lasse Karlsson
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
From 2021 NJVET publishes all articles under the Creative Commons License CC BY 4.0.