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Increasing risk in the scary world of work? Male and female resistance to crossing gender lines in apprenticeships in England and Wales

By Vanessa Beck, Alison Fuller and Lorna Unwin


This paper is based on research conducted as part of the Equal Opportunities Commission's General Formal Investigation into gender segregation in the United Kingdom labour market. The project comprised a survey of and focus groups with 14/15 year‐olds in eight English schools in spring 2004 and a survey of 15/16 year‐olds in four Welsh schools in autumn 2004. The survey explored the process of young people's career decision‐making, their attitudes to career choice and whether apprenticeship was seen as an option. Experiences and perceptions of respondents suggest that decisions about their future career options are based in part on risk avoidance strategies but also on a willingness to take risks where it will advance an individual's interests. By utilising Beck's concept of risk, the authors reveal the dilemmas which young people face as they consider their post‐school futures. The data show that boys are less likely than girls to opt for a job traditionally held by the opposite sex. In addition, the paper examines the implications of the finding that access to and the quality of careers information and guidance remain very varied

Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1080/13639080600776920
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