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International expert, Professor Michael Young, has joined the Department of Education
International expert, Professor Michael Young, has joined the Department of Education

Internal News - 27 September 2006

Expert in the sociology of knowledge joins Department of Education

Professor Michael Young, an international expert in the sociology of knowledge and education, has joined the Department of Education as a professor on a three-year part-time post.

Professor Young’s work focuses on post-compulsory and vocational education, and the role of qualifications.

“Approximately one third of all young people in the UK will go through some kind of vocational training or post-compulsory learning. However, historically this country has placed little value on it,” said Professor Young.

“In many cases employers view vocational training as a sign of failure - that the student was unable to complete traditional further education, rather than the training being valued as a qualification in its own right.

“This has been the situation for many years and I believe that the most effective way of changing this attitude is for policy-makers to look at the mistakes that have been made in the past and make the necessary fundamental changes.

“As anyone who works with policy will know, policy-change can be a very slow process. I am still very optimistic that attitudes to non-traditional education can be changed and their value recognised.

“I have done a lot of work in countries such as South Africa, and new members of the European Union, such as Slovenia, where policy has successfully changed attitudes.

“I have been involved in educational policy in South Africa since the end of the apartheid. At that time it had no education policies of its own and was looking to adopt policies from English-speaking countries around the world. My role was to ensure they didn’t repeat our mistakes, as well as our achievements.”

Professor Young will be working closely with Professor Hugh Lauder and the Educational Policy cluster. Professor Lauder said: “It is a great honour to have one of the world’s leading education sociologists join us in the department.”

Until Professor Young has a Bath e-mail address he can be contacted via Professor Lauder on ext 6236 or email