Over the life of this project, the CelebYouth team have challenged government rhetoric of low aspirations, arguing that this not only lacks any evidence base, it also neglects the broader structural context within which young people’s ideas about their future are formed and realised. In this post, guest blogger Tristram Hooley argues that the provision of career support can be pivotal in helping young people to realise their aspirations. He argues that many young people have high aspirations, but are unable to fully realise them because of lack of support. Tristram has recently published a research report which describes how resources, staffing and political support for career education and guidance have declined since the election of the Coalition Government. As he explains, this decline has resulted in a dramatic loss of support for most young people and deleterious consequences.
Posts Tagged ‘David Cameron’
One of the many pleasures of this year’s British Educational Research Association Conference was collaborating on the Aspiration Nation? Symposium not just with Kim and Laura, my CelebYouth colleagues, but also with the wonderful Louise Archer from the Aspires Project, Graham Crow from the Living and Working on Sheppey Project and Becky Francis. Graham’s research involves asking young people to write essays in the voice of their older selves looking back on their lives, replicating an earlier study by Ray Pahl in the 1970s. In exploring the archived 1970s essays, Graham was surprised to find that Pahl had scribbled ‘Total Fantasy’ on some. This remark from Graham provoked me to reflect on how we judge young people’s aspirations. How do some come to appear realistic and some fantastic, and with what consequences?
Interviewer: Is there anything you would like to be known for [in the future]?
Jason: Um, no, not right now.
Our first phase of data collection is almost complete, and the team are currently working their way through pages upon pages of transcripts from 24 group interviews with year 10 and 12 pupils from six schools across England. In this post, Kim reflects on some of the emerging findings and the thornier methodological issues arising for us as a team.
After a lot of work finding schools, we have begun fieldwork and carried out six focus groups in two schools. In this post, we (Kim and Heather) share some of the things that surprised us in our 14 to 17 year-old participants’ talk about celebrities – from arguments about diver Tom Daley to animated discussions of classic Hollywood and Bollywood film stars.
Aspiration is the engine of progress. Countries rise when they allow their people to rise. In this world where brains matter more, where technologies shape our lives, where no-one is owed a living: the most powerful natural resource we have is our people. -David Cameron
In this post I take a critical eye to the use of ‘aspiration’ in David Cameron’s speech yesterday. What does he mean when he talks about aspiration? And what is left out?
David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party conference yesterday focused strongly on the topic of aspiration, positioned as the solution to economic crisis and the tool to ‘meet the challenges our country faces’.
Language is not a transparent thing. The words that we use and how we define particular terms construct certain versions of the world; what gets to count as ‘true’ in any given moment – what Foucault referred to as ‘truth effects’.
Cameron’s speech is a fascinating text to examine the construction of the notion of ‘aspiration’.