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Exploring young people’s aspirations In ‘urban regeneration’ settings: a critical reflection

Burgess, Fiona (2017) Exploring young people’s aspirations In ‘urban regeneration’ settings: a critical reflection. Masters by Research thesis (MA), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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Discourses of aspirations have become increasingly prominent in the youth studies literatures and related research. This thesis reports a research project which explored the experiences of a group of young people aged sixteen who had been identified as possibly becoming ‘not in education, employment or training’ (NEET) and who had undertaken a mentoring programme. Specifically, for this thesis, the young people’s views of their aspirations both prior to the mentoring programme and post the programme were explored. Despite increased interest in the aspirations of young people, there is limited research on how this concept is defined and recognised by young people themselves. This thesis thus sought to address this gap in knowledge. Two focus groups each of ten participants were planned. The young people consented verbally to take part in the focus groups. However, only five young people participated and were prepared to give written consent for their views to be used in this research project. Additionally, no parents were prepared to give written consent. It was not possible to discover why the remaining young people, or their parents did not consent. Conjecture suggests that perhaps they were weary of what they perceived as intervention, having undertaken the mentoring programme; or perhaps they just did not want to discuss their aspirations. Of the five young participants who did consent to have their views reported, thematic analysis revealed themes of ‘aspirations’, ‘mental health’, ‘belonging’ and ‘fun’.

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