The Shades of Employability: A Capability Study of VET Students' Freedoms and Oppressions in Spain

Aurora López Fogués

Abstract

In times of economic downturn, the discourse of employability puts the spotlight on Vocational Education and Training (VET), hoping to find a quick solution to youth unemployment. As the ET2020 strategy points out, each EU country should seek systems which provide the best means for all citizens to realise their potential as well as ensure sustainable economic prosperity. In Spain, where the number of unemployed young people is soaring, this statement requires further investigation. Concerned with how detached this discourse seems from the Spanish context this paper presents results obtained from fifteen Intermediate VET students, their daily barriers to finding a source of income and having a meaningful and valuable job. It argues that a more comprehensive approach to the situation of VET students can be found in the Capability Approach developed by Amartya Sen and the concept of oppression developed in the political writings of Iris Marion Young, rather than narrowly skills-based strategies.

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