This article appeared in Vocations and Learning, v.3, n.2, July 2010. p. 157-178
Young adults’ early career development is an increasingly important field of inquiry. With the complexity of modern transitions from school and the lifelong learning demands of emerging knowledge societies, governments are concerned to improve learning pathways into, and through, tertiary education and work. Young adults are exploring new learning and work possibilities and understanding these create a challenge for governments trying to validate their experiences and enhance their employability. This paper draws on integrated qualitative and statistical cluster analyses of young New Zealanders’ narratives about navigating learning and work. It draws out theoretical and policy implications, suggesting that work life learning in and outside the workplace is a key feature of young adults’ lives, though it is experienced differently by different groups. These experiences need to be taken into account in government policy as the value of providing a range of different learning settings, and of learning as necessarily lifelong, features increasingly in those policies—albeit in a fairly narrowly defined way.
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