Theme 2: Professionalisation, integration, careers and training-employment links

Research into the training-employment nexus has been a feature of IREDU’s work for several decades (Paul, 1989; Giret, 2015). While the focus has often been on the period of professional integration in the years following leaving the education system, the mismatch between training and employment has a lasting effect on careers, including within the education professions. The aim of this second theme is to build on past work by looking at the longitudinal dynamics of training-employment links, which begin at school and university, through the rise of several forms of professionalisation (Rose, 2018) and continue throughout a career. This research also requires an understanding of individual characteristics, which are often the source of inequalities, such as educational background, gender, social and cultural origin and location. It also involves looking at the way in which different experiences, whether in or out of school or outside the classroom, fit together. This work is part of both an international and a national perspective. From a methodological point of view, quantitative analysis based on major international and national surveys will remain central to the laboratory’s historical tradition. It will, however, be combined with more qualitative approaches, and could be used to develop a collective reflection on mixed approaches.

Sub-theme 2.1. Differentiation and professionalisation of pathways

In the context of the segmentation of secondary and higher education and policies in favour of the ‘professionalisation’ and individualisation of pathways, the various dimensions of guidance towards vocational streams and/or professionalisation modules in training courses are analysed: conditions of guidance, inequalities and differentiation of study pathways, methods of professionalisation and transfer of skills. An initial body of work raises the question of orientation towards vocational streams, taking account of educational, social and gender inequalities in study pathways. Unlike the work carried out in theme 1, the research here focuses on the construction of the different facets of professionalisation and its effects on pathways and the way they are perceived by young people. It also examines the contexts in which professionalisation takes place, from apprenticeships for vocational students to the study of different professionalisation schemes in higher education. The variety of ways in which they are used in educational provision – the apprenticeship, for example, but also other arrangements described as intermediate or hybrid at different levels of the vocational route (project funded by France Compétences, FoAp-Institut Agro partnership, CREN, LARAC) – are leading to increasingly varied and differentiated educational pathways for individuals. From a comparative education perspective, the effects of national contexts will also be studied, taking into account selection methods, as well as vertical and horizontal differentiation between establishments and courses of study. In particular, this project will be able to build on the various collaborations with researchers at various German universities (Hanover, Bamberg) and could eventually lead to a more ambitious European project of the ‘Horizon Europe’ type.

Attention will also be paid to the professionalisation of courses that are not solely or wholly part of initial training. Research funded by the ANR (PhDexp project) will focus on doctoral training and the way in which doctoral students have to adapt to changes in their training in line with the desire to develop their career opportunities. Other work will focus on training and professionalisation requirements in specific occupations, such as firefighters or support for people who are far from employment (project funded by CEDEFOP).

Sub-theme 2.2: Integration and links between training and employment

Historically, this sub-theme offers a longitudinal analysis of professional integration and the training-employment relationship. It is part of an important series of work by the unit in connection with Cereq, which mobilized major national surveys and quantitative methodologies. The objective is firstly to study the effect of study paths on integration and the labor market, following on from the previous sub-theme. Participation in an exploitation group for the INSEE longitudinal EVA survey will notably make it possible to understand the effects of guidance and school pathways on vocational education students. It will be supplemented by more qualitative research which focuses on employers’ representations of young people’s career paths, particularly for low-skilled jobs. A Franco-German comparison will also seek to take into account the labor market returns of the set of educational trajectories from secondary to higher education. The challenge is then to better understand the dynamics of matching between training and jobs within professional trajectories. Based in particular on the exploitation groups of the Génération du Cereq surveys, work will seek to understand how educational, social, gender and migratory inequalities are likely to generate situations of downgrading on the labor market, more or less unequally felt among the youth. In connection with the sociological and economic literature on “educational mismatch” (Mc Guiness, 2018), the objective is to take a double look at these discrepancies between employment and training, vertical for downgrading but also horizontal for mismatch. training-employment. Sub-theme 2.3. “Conditions of access, practice and careers in education professions” This third sub-theme partly corresponds to a variation of the two previous sub-themes in the education professions. Indeed, the latter are characterized by a specific environment linked to the organization of the education system and the resulting working conditions. Today, particularly pressing questions arise in these professions about training, entry and exit from the career in connection with their transformations (Danner et al., 2019). Firstly, this requires questioning the conditions of access to education professions. The analysis of pre-professionalization policies for teaching professions makes it possible, by means of a mixed longitudinal approach, to understand the influence of these measures on orientation towards teaching professions (project financed by the PIA NCU RITM). Secondly, the research focuses on the evolution of careers in these professions. This will involve questioning the conditions for practicing these professions and the transition mechanisms that they generate throughout the career. The teaching profession receives particular attention from the angle, in particular, of “atypical” careers (second careers or public sector teachers working in particular contexts). Resignations and contractual terminations of teachers are analyzed, questioning the guarantee of stability of the profession and the level of resources necessary to leave it. Still within this framework of transitions but with a socio-historical approach, research is also carried out on the paths of teachers towards the inspection in charge of EPS. Finally, in a third step, a more political analysis of education actors completes this analysis to understand this evolution of professions and careers within the framework of more general modes of regulation of the education system. Research will focus on the actors involved at different levels of the implementation of the Grenelle de l’education in order to better understand its objectives, its organization and its effects (as part of a project financed by the ERC TeachersCareers) . Another research focuses on the power and political role of the inspection in charge of EPS.