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"Becoming Technicians in the Hydrocarbon State: Transitions into Post-Compulsory Vocational Education and Training in the State of Qatar"

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

This thesis explores the transitions of young people from different national, social and
cultural groups into post-compulsory vocational education and training (VET) and
technical careers in the State of Qatar. It aims to understand young people’s perceptions of
post-compulsory VET and technical careers, the factors that enable or constrain their
participation in engineering and skilled trades programmes, and their strategies for
navigating education and employment. The thesis employs a qualitative research design and
in-depth interview methodology to investigate the subjective transition experiences of 15
young people from diverse national, social and cultural backgrounds participating in
engineering and skilled trades programmes at three post-compulsory institutions in Qatar.
The data were analysed according to a thematic framework based on a priori codes, which
resulted in several inductive themes. The findings indicate that although young people are
positive about post-compulsory VET and technical careers, higher education (HE) remains
the normative pathway for college-bound students. However, a growing number of young
people participate in VET to circumvent barriers to HE and enter the thriving technical
labour market. They use economic, social and cultural capital to navigate these barriers,
which include Qatar’s segmented labour market, academic requirements, institutional
habitus, social networks and social positioning. Differently situated young people
reflexively fashion their transition biographies to celebrate successes and rationalise failures
in Qatar’s dynamic post-compulsory education system and technical labour market.

Keywords: vocational education and training (VET), youth transitions, transnational
education, structure and agency, narrative analysis, Middle East, Arab Gulf, Qatar
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date2017

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