A Capability Approach to Cultural Diversity in School-to-Work Transitions: Amartya Sen and Young Adults’ Diversely Different Education and Work Communities

  • Roberta (Bobby) HarreveldEmail author
  • Michael Singh
  • Bingyi Li
Part of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (TVET, volume 17)


Internationally, the effects of a global financial crisis, technological advances, political instabilities and ongoing environmental issues impact young adults’ transitions from school to work. This complex issue has been addressed through policy frameworks guiding national systems and their institutionalised structuring of education and training. This chapter is presented in three sections. First, Amartya Sen’s (Inequality re-examined. Russell Sage Foundation, New York, 1992; Identity and violence: the illusion of destiny. WW Norton & Company, New York/London, 2006) capability approach is used to develop a theoretical position for our investigation of the ways in which educators are challenged in their attempts to transitions for young adult. Second, a review of international and national issues at the point of intersection between socio-economically aligned transitions and considerations of cultural diversity at individual, institutional and systems levels. National models for school-to-work transitions are reviewed, and their success, or otherwise, for identifying cultural diversity of both individuals and groups and using them explicitly in successful transitions is analysed. Third, a specific case from Australia is presented through a descriptive analysis of transitions brokered for indigenous and non-indigenous young adult living in metropolitan and non-metropolitan (i.e. rural, regional and remote) communities in Queensland. Our non-indigenous perspective is constructed through both theoretical and contextual literature from the fields of vocational education, workplace training and career development in Australian senior secondary schools.


Capability Approach Indigenous Student Senior Secondary School Indigenous Youth Indigenous Identity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This chapter is based on work conducted for an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant with the Queensland Department of Education and Training (LP0777022).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta (Bobby) Harreveld
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Singh
    • 2
  • Bingyi Li
    • 2
  1. 1.Learning & Teaching Education Research CentreCentral Queensland UniversityRockhamptonAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Educational ResearchUniversity of Western SydneySydneyAustralia

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