78.1 Pathways from school to work: Can service participation and social capital improve developmental outcomes of economically disadvantaged youth?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 10:45 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Steven Sek-yum NGAI , Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Chau-kiu CHEUNG , Department of Applied Social Studies, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Ngan-pun NGAI , Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
The transition from school to work is especially problematic for economically disadvantaged young people in a time of rapid social change and economic restructuring. Previous research has indicated that these young people encounter greater difficulties in education, employment and youth development in general than their more fortunate counterparts. The most notable problem is that of “NEET”, in which young people are not engaged in education, employment, or training. This status, in turn, is a precursor to more serious problems, and thus finding ways to help these young people is a pressing concern for research. Given this consideration, the present study surveys 500 Hong Kong youths aged between 17 and 21 from low-income families to investigate their paths to development. Of particular concern is the exploration of the factors that are conducive to the success of these youths in school, work, and community life. A prominent factor is participation in vocational training and social work services, and another important factor is social capital embedded in their friendship networks. The way in which these factors interact with personal and family backgrounds to shape the development of young people is also an area of investigation. The research findings are of value in the development of policy and practices that will be beneficial to these young people, and will be of benefit to society as a whole.

This paper will be presented in English. It has direct relevance to the theme of “Youth and Work in a Globalized World ” at the RC34 Sessions in the Second ISA Forum of Sociology to be held on August 1-4, 2012 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as more and more young people worldwide are now living in economic disadvantaged circumstances and facing problems in their school-to-work transition.