Socio-personal premises for selecting and securing an occupation as vocation
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What motivates and directs individuals towards particular careers is an important issue for vocational and professional education. Individuals, their families and community invest significant time and financial resources when learning about and how to participate effectively in their selected occupation. Yet, given high attrition rates in some forms of occupational preparation and high levels early separation from occupations, understanding the bases by which individuals make decisions about their occupation becomes important. Drawing on synopses of earlier studies, and a current study of student nurses engagement with their occupation, it is proposed that individuals make occupational choices at various distances from the occupation itself. Importantly, individuals' premises for wanting to become a nurse are multi-fold, distinct and likely shaped by the particular experiences of each individual's life history. Yet, the more remote that decision-making occurs from actual practice the greater their choice is premised on ideals, rather than actualities of the occupation. Regardless, the process of forming an identity associated with an occupation is premised on negotiations between the occupation as a conception of practice and what is experienced through engaging with the occupation. Those who have a greater knowledge of what constitutes the occupation in practice and its requirements are more likely to engage in distinct kinds of negotiations and make more informed decisions about their chosen work or occupation, than those who have not engaged or have done so only remotely. These negotiated bases suggest the process of becoming is one negotiated between personal and social imperatives more than participation alone or the particular qualities of an occupation. In all, the agency of the individual directs and mediates these negotiations in identifying with and 'becoming' a practitioner.
Studies in the Education of Adults
© 2010 National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE). This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.
Education not elsewhere classified