JustEd researchers supporting youth
at risk of social exclusion

The team recently met in Umeå, Sweden, to set the targets for the ‘On the move’ project. At the same time, they met with Tero Järvinen and Christian Helms Jörgensen, who were invited to comment on another project plan for a new cross-cut research project. In the picture Tero Järvinen, Lisbeth Lundahl (project leader), Joakim Lindgren, Jonna Linde, Per-Åke Rosvall, Christian Helms Jörgensen and Åsa Sundelin.

The ‘On the move’ team recently got together in Umeå, Sweden. At the same time, they met with Tero Järvinen and Christian Helms Jörgensen, who were invited to comment on another project plan for a new cross-cut research project. In the picture Tero Järvinen, Lisbeth Lundahl (project leader), Joakim Lindgren, Jonna Linde, Per-Åke Rosvall, Christian Helms Jörgensen and Åsa Sundelin.


In Sweden, JustEd members are currently working on a new research collaboration project funded by the Swedish research council. The project ‘On the move’ put interest in students at risk of not being eligible for one of the Swedish upper secondary programs.

The aim is to strengthen the educational and professional opportunities for students without complete grades from compulsory school, a group running high risk of future social exclusion. In Sweden, these adolescents are channeled into one of five introductory programs (IP), to prepare them for studies or work. However, it is unclear how the students’ conditions, ambitions and choices are formed locally and which support for their educational and occupational choices is offered in different municipalities and regions.

Analyzing transitions and career learning
The project will study how young people in various local contexts reason about their future orientations. JustEd researcher and Associate Professor Per-Åke Rosvall, Umeå University, is one of the researchers on the team:

“We are also interested in analyzing the support for career learning and career choices for young people in these contexts, and how it may be developed to promote career learning and successful transitions. We want to develop an understanding of local structures, institutional processes and individual aspirations that promote or hinder transitions within schools and between schools and higher education and/or work.”

Big local variations between schools
The team will map and critically analyze career learning activities and career choices for adolescents attending IP, the students’ experiences of those activities and the relationship between the two on a local and institutional level. This will be done through observations of career development activities, interviews with students, school staff and local politicians, and through surveys directed to career counselors and other informants with an overview of the local career support.

“Even though the curriculum plans emphasize the responsibility of the whole school for supporting students in their choices of future studies and work, several reports show that schools seldom work like this. In contrast to many other countries, career learning as a subject or knowledge field is missing in Swedish education”, says Rosvall.

Developing youth career support
Of those who started on an IP in 2011, slightly less than half had continued to a national program five years later. Students with special needs are overrepresented at the IPs but overall, the IP students are not a particularly homogenous groups and there are big local variations between the schools.

“The outcome of this study is expected to provide knowledge that can be used in order to develop well-informed career support for youth groups known to be at risk”, says Rosvall.

The project is led by Lisbeth Lundahl and the team consists of Per-Åke Rosvall, Jonna Linde, Joakim Lindgren from the University of Umeå and Åsa Sundelin from the University of Stockholm.

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About the Author

About the Author: Charlotta Järf is in charge of the communications and marketing activities for JustEd, The Nordic Centre of Excellence, an international research network with 14 partner universities in 8 countries. With ten years of professional experience in Communications and Marketing, and five years as a TV, radio and newspaper journalist, Charlotta has a practical set of skills in strategical communications, PR, social media, graphic design, video and content production. .

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