Empirical Paper

Participation in career development communities of practice: Perspectives from low socio-economic background students

Abstract

Despite experiencing challenges in transitioning into graduate employment (Ashley, Duberley, Sommerlad & Scholarios, 2015; Boston Consulting Group, 2017) low socioeconomic background students are less likely to engage with support offered through their higher education careers services (Greenbank & Hepworth, 2008; Simpson & Ferguson, 2013). This study investigates the efficacy of using a four-week online community of practice intervention aiming to build careers support engagement of students from low socio-economic backgrounds through peer learning. Through a series of 24 semi-structured interviews, it was found that students who disengaged from the intervention reported doing so due to feeling apprehensive about their lack of knowledge and experience, other commitments (especially term-time work and academic studies), and anxiety associated with transition from university to work. This research expands the careers counselling literature to not only consider career consulting practices, but also student engagement through leveraging social learning. This work has additional practical applications for careers practitioners highlighting benefits and drawbacks of offering career support through online communities of practice.

Keywords

careers counselling, engagement, socio-economic backgrounds, community of practice, peer learning, careers service interventions

How to Cite

Trottier, M., (2021) “Participation in career development communities of practice: Perspectives from low socio-economic background students”, EWOP in Practice 15(2), 135–155. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/ewopinpractice.87148

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Michelle Trottier (University of Glasgow)

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