CGHE Webinar 149

Higher education students’ aspirations for their post-university lives: evidence from six European nations

Date: Thursday, 10 September 2020 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: Zoom webinar
Speaker(s):
  • Achala Gupta, University of Surrey

Event Materials

This event is now archived and we are pleased to provide the following event media and assets, along with the original event overview.

While there is now a relatively large literature on young people’s aspirations with respect to their transitions from compulsory schooling, the body of work on the aspirations of those within higher education is rather less well-developed. This is likely to be related to the relative absence of policy activity in this area, underpinned by policymakers’ assumptions that university provides a smooth pathway, for those who secure access, to professional employment. This presentation draws on data from undergraduate students in six European countries to explore their hopes for their post-university lives. It demonstrates that although aspirations for employment were discussed most frequently, non-economic plans and desires were also important. Moreover, despite significant commonalities across the six nations, aspirations were also differentiated, to some extent at least, by national context, institutional setting and subject of study.

While there is now a relatively large literature on young people’s aspirations with respect to their transitions from compulsory schooling, the body of work on the aspirations of those within higher education is rather less well-developed. This is likely to be related to the relative absence of policy activity in this area, underpinned by policymakers’ assumptions that university provides a smooth pathway, for those who secure access, to professional employment. This presentation draws on data from undergraduate students in six European countries to explore their hopes for their post-university lives. It demonstrates that although aspirations for employment were discussed most frequently, non-economic plans and desires were also important. Moreover, despite significant commonalities across the six nations, aspirations were also differentiated, to some extent at least, by national context, institutional setting and subject of study.

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