Curriculum choices and school-to-work transitions among upper-secondary school leavers in Scotland and Ireland

This study aims to unpack the influence of curriculum choices in secondary education on young people’s labour market destinations in Ireland and Scotland, two countries which share many similarities in their transition and post-16 education systems but differ in the degree of student subject choice at upper-secondary level. Using regression analyses of school leavers’ survey data from both countries, we analysed to what extent subjects studied and grades achieved in secondary school matter for young people’s occupational opportunities. We found that subject choice are more important for employment chances and access to higher status positions in Scotland than in Ireland. Higher grades enhance access to higher quality jobs in both countries.

Policy relevance:
This research is policy-relevant because it identifies mechanisms by which social inequalities in secondary and tertiary education come about and how they affect labour market outcomes and gives policy makers crucial insights in how to reduce social differences in life course outcomes.

Papers associated with this project:

•    Iannelli, C. and Smyth, E. (under review) ‘Curriculum choices and school-to-work transitions among upper-secondary school leavers in Scotland and Ireland.’ Journal of Education and Work - Special issue in honour of Professor David Raffe

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Date: 
June, 2017

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