Learning and work in the lives of young adults
It is clear that for many young people the balance between learning, work and leisure has shifted considerably over recent decades. Many students now work throughout the whole of their post‐compulsory education, entering the labour market well before any higher education applications have been made, and continue to work throughout their time at university. In part, this may be driven by: young people's desires to maintain a particular ‘consumer lifestyles'; shifts towards flexible labour in many sectors of the economy that have provided more opportunities for student employment; as well as the increasing costs of studying for a degree. Within this context, many young people have become very practised at ‘juggling' a job, an education and a social life. Drawing on a study of 30 graduates in their mid‐twenties, this paper explores whether the experience of combining education and employment may facilitate lifelong learning, through the ‘normalisation' of these patterns or whether, conversely, the financial pressures that many young people experience during their post‐compulsory education act as a disincentive to pursue further learning.
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