The Employability Paradigm

1392 Words3 Pages

The Employability Paradigm

Denis O’Sullivan’s Cultural Politics and Irish Education since the 1950’s (2006) makes the argument that early school leaving has traditionally been understood as a failure of the individual to succeed within mainstream schooling. This essay plans to outline and support O’Sullivan’s argument and also to show how the political and educational system in Ireland has created a criterion for success which guarantees a certain amount of failure.

O’Sullivan’s (2006) argues that the Employability Paradigm which emerged in the 1970’s served to distinguish a group of students who were not achieving the standard needed to guarantee employment. Employability is the assessment of those with the lowest chance of success in an economically motivated nation. It posits that intervention is necessary to prevent those individuals who have failed within the system from being dependent on social welfare and subsequently from being socially excluded (O’Sullivan 2006). In the early 1970’s, Ireland’s entry into the European economy and the changing employment market combined to connect education attainment to employability. As a result, educational credentials became the accepted way of assessing ability and this served to focus attention on those leaving school early with little or no qualifications. O’Sullivan argues that while the policy of the state, on the surface, seemed to support equal opportunity with the provision of free access to secondary education, the reality for most working class students was far from equitable. There were limited interventions available for those who needed help to develop the skills needed to benefit from access to secondary education and these students became disenfranchised. The disc...

... middle of paper ... and Youth Labour Markets: A Cross-National Analysis IN: Blanchflower, D. and Freeman, R.Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Mac Einri, P. 1997. Some Recent Demographic Developments in Ireland. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 7th May 2012]

O’Dubhslainé, A. 2006. The White Paper On Education: A Failure To Invest. Student Economic Review. 20 p 115

O’Sullivan, D. 2006. Cultural Politics and Irish Education since the 1950’s. Ireland: Cork University Press.

Ronayne, T. 2004. Regions Without Work: Unemployment and Labour Market Policy in Ireland. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 7th May 2012]

Stokes, D. 2004. Submission to the Youth Justice Agency. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 7th May 2012]

Open Document