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Over the last few decades, the nature of school to work transitions has changed quite radically across Europe. In particular we have witnessed a rapid expansion in the numbers of young people participating in postcompulsory education and training, where a protracted period in education has become the norm. During the Fordist era, transitions from education to work were relatively clear-cut; young people pursued a range of collective routes, highly structured according to their social class and gender. Only a small minority or elite followed protracted transitions, involving extended education and dependence. In the modern European context, transitions from education to work have become much more complex. A majority now pursue an array of postcompulsory educational pathways, through continuing education or training. As a result young people remain dependent on their families for much longer periods than was previously the norm.
A number of factors have encouraged this trend: the restructuring of labour markets, heightened demand for educated labour and national and European policies aimed at upgrading skills to adapt and compete at the highest level within a global economy. These social and economic trends, together with policies that have encouraged widening participation, have lengthened young people�s period of dependence or semi-dependence on their families. In addition, in many European countries, the difficulties young people face in gaining entry to the labour market has led to a further extension of dependency.

Additional information

Authors: MÖRCH S, European Commission, DG Research, Brussels (BE);BIGGART A, European Commission, DG Research, Brussels (BE);BENDIT R, European Commission, DG Research, Brussels (BE);CAIRNS D, European Commission, DG Research, Brussels (BE);HEIN K, European Commission, DG Research, Brussels (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 20796 EN (2004), 88 pp. Euro: 15
Availability: EUR-OP reference: KI-NA-20-796-EN-C Available from EUR-OP sales agents URL:
ISBN: ISBN 92-894-5788-0
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