Friday, 30 November 2012

Friday Fun to start your weekend off the way it should be!!

Price Hill Incline: 1906
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Price Hill Incline: 1906
“Price Hill Incline”
Part of the Cincinnati streetcar and freight elevator system circa 1906
8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co.
View original post

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Hoover and Reagan. The FBI director trusted few but found a comrade in the former-actor-turned-politician. For a time, they shared a foe: UC Berkeley... more

Strange Death of the English Gentleman
via 3quarksdaily by Azra Raza
From Standpoint:
One of the distinguishing marks of a gentleman was that he did things because he knew they were the right thing to do, not because they would bring him personal advantage. Captain Oates was a very gallant gentleman. The idea of a gentleman was a more inclusive one than it sounds to modern ears. One of its greatest advantages was that you could define it so as to include yourself. You could behave like a gentleman, without possessing any of the social attributes which a gentleman might have: there was no need to possess a coat of arms, or a country estate, or engage in field sports, or wear evening dress. At least since Chaucer’s time, there had been a distinction between the social meaning of the word, and the moral. It was evident that well-born people, who ought to know how to behave like gentlemen, did not always do so, while others sometimes did.
Philip Mason, whose perceptive study, The English Gentleman, was published in 1982, argues that “the desire to be a gentleman” runs through and illuminates English history from the time of Chaucer until the early 20th century. He suggests that “for most of the 19th century and until the Second World War” the idea of the gentleman “provided the English with a second religion, one less demanding than Christianity. It influenced their politics. It influenced their system of education; it made them endow new public schools and raise the status of old grammar schools. It inspired the lesser landed gentry as well as the professional and middle classes to give their children an upbringing of which the object was to make them ladies and gentlemen, even if only a few of them also became scholars.” This was a subject that interested so great a man as Cardinal Newman. In The Idea of a University he said that a liberal education makes “not the Christian, not the Catholic, but the gentleman”, and went on: It is well to be a gentleman, it is well to have a cultivated intellect, a delicate taste, a candid, equitable dispassionate mind, a noble and courteous bearing in the conduct of life; these are the connatural qualities of a large knowledge; they are the objects of a University … but they are no guarantees for sanctity or even for conscientiousness; they may attach to the man of the world, the profligate, the heartless.
More here

Beautiful Pre-Production Drawings for Disney’s Cinderella
via Flavorwire by Alison Nastasi
If you’re a friend of Flavorpill, then you know how much we appreciate a clever twist on Disney films, characters, and other behind-the-scenes goodies from the animated classics. That’s why we were elated to come across these pre-production sketches of the Mickey Mouse studio’s Cinderella at website Deja View, by way of Film School Rejects. The rich, detailed drawings range from loosely composed to fully realised scenes we instantly recognised from the 1950 movie. Deja View speculates that the works were created by legendary Disney artist Ken O’Connor, [now corrected on Deja View] who brought the fairy tale’s pumpkin-turned-magical coach to life. O’Connor contributed his talents to Disney’s biggest pictures, including Snow WhiteLady and the Tramp, and Fantasia (the dancing hippos are his creation). See beautiful sketches for the timeless Disney love story in our gallery. The forethought that went into every tiny detail makes you realize how committed Disney was to shaping their magical universe.
See all of them here
and my personal favourite is ...

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Queer kids used to be cool. Now they're boring and banal. If gay men are to recover their panache, it'll take some practice. Here's where to start... more

J.R.R. Tolkien Recites “Namárië” Poem in Elvish
via Reading Copy Book Blog by Beth Carswell
People have often commented on the genius of J.R.R. Tolkien, frequently citing the elaborate depths he went to when creating Middle-earth.
Maps, languages, political systems, races – Tolkien’s level of detail allowed readers a deeper immersion into a fantasy world than any author before him.
An excellent example – here is a rare recording of Tolkien in 1952, reading a Quenya (High-elven; one of the Elvish languages) poem from The Lord of the Rings.

The full poem, in both Quenya and English is here on the Abe Books blog

Your friendly neighbourhood boring machine
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker
Check out this great interactive map of the London subway system, showing the real-time location of the giant boring machines that are currently digging new tunnels beneath the city.
Via Nicola Twilley

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
From the Greek for “sneer at or taunt”, sarkasmos is among man’s great achievements. Can it survive our sensitive, oh-so-sincere age?... more

biblioguerilla: Claricia, 13th century German illuminator
via Girl in the Moon

Claricia, swinging from the letter Q. She wrote her name above her own head.
From the Walters Art Museum

Fun commercial for Sugru repair putty
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder
This is a cute commercial for Sugru, the delightful moldable repair compound that I use to fix suitcase zippers, dishwasher rollers, headphone strain reliefs, and many other things around the house that break.

Universal Credit: monthly awards

and Wither the WCA

Reading CPAG’s Welfare Rights Bulletin (Number 230 (October 2012)) yesterday I found two articles that I thought would be very useful for advisers (and possibly others)

David Simmons examines the proposal to make universal credit a monthly benefit,


Simon Osborne considers prospects for reform and other change to the work capability assessment.

Both are available on the CPAG website and I found it interesting to note that these are the only two articles from the publication that are available online.

Youth Perspectives on the Intersections of Violence, Gender, and Hip-Hop

an article by Diana Hernández and Miguel Muñoz-Laboy (Columbia University, New York, USA) and Hannah Weinstein (Yeshiva University, New York, USA) published in Youth & Society Volume 44 Number 4 (December 2012)


Youth’s perceptions of violence within their social environments can provide relevant insights into the gender-based interpersonal violence epidemic in inner-city communities.

To explore this issue, we examined two sets of narratives with young men and women, aged 15 to 21, involved in hip-hop culture in New York City.

In the analysis, we reveal youth accounts of street and interpersonal violence, examining the interconnections with gender and hip-hop culture. Our findings suggest that youth involved in hip-hop culture vary in the comprehensiveness of their definitions of violence and viewed violence as entertainment or as a way to gain or maintain respect.

Moreover, many respondents described episodes of interpersonal violence but failed to classify the behavior as violent, which suggests that dialogue with youth is needed to deconstruct diverse cultural understandings and more effectively address violence among youth. We recommend using hip-hop as a tool for reform in the process.

Community-Based Career Counseling for Women Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence A Collaborative Partnership

an article by Krista M. Chronister, Eliza Harley, Christina L. Aranda, Leah Barr and Paula Luginbuhl (University of Oregon, Eugene, USA) published in Journal of Career Development Volume 39 Number 6 (December 2012)


Intimate partner violence (IPV) costs women nearly 8 million days of paid work annually. Greater attention to violence survivors’ employment and career development can facilitate women escaping abusive relationships and promotes their overall rehabilitation and healing.

A first step to increasing attention to survivors’ career development includes collaborating with social service agencies in an effort to translate career intervention research findings into community-based practice.

The purpose of this article is to provide a description of an individual career counselling model that the authors use to serve women IPV survivors.

The authors review the structure of the service model, the theoretical and research foundations, and describe two case examples to highlight career counselling interventions relevant for women survivors.

Hazel’s comment:
The 8 million days are in the USA and I do not seem to be able to find a figure for the UK but this research underlines something that I learned very early on in my career as an adviser; you cannot move people on if there are mental health / trauma issues in their lives any more than you can get homeless people into work without addressing the underlying reasons for the homelessness.

Youth Unemployment: A Crisis in Our Midst

The role of lifelong guidance policies in addressing labour supply and demand

an ELGPN Concept Note Number 2 by Deirdre Hughes and Tibor Bors Borbély-Pecze published by European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network


This concept note addresses five key questions:
  1. What are the current trends and challenges facing young people and policy-makers across Europe?
  2. What policies, including good and interesting practices, are emerging in differing European Union (EU) Member-States in response to youth unemployment?
  3. What more can be done to address youth unemployment, drawing on lifelong guidance policies and practices?
  4. How can policies for responsive lifelong guidance services make a positive contribution to new and emerging government delivery plans within and across Member-States?
  5. What are the key questions to inform the EU’s and Member-States’ education, training, employment and social inclusion priorities?
Full text (PDF 20pp)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

'Protecting the most vulnerable' in an economic crisis: a participatory study of civil society organisations in Ireland

an article by Gemma M. Carney, Tony Dundon and ÁIne Ní Léime (affiliation(s) not provided) published in Voluntary Sector Review Volume 3 Number 3 (November 2012)


This paper advances knowledge of how civil society organisations (CSOs) negotiate the shift from boom-time public expenditure to governmental austerity.

The study focuses on the Republic of Ireland, where CSOs occupied an important role in providing a voice for “vulnerable” citizens in corporatism for over a decade. The global financial crisis and subsequent austerity measures caused the country’s model of corporatist-style “social partnership” to collapse.

The article connects CSOs’ adaptation to austerity measures when protecting the “people behind the cuts” to broader questions about co-optation of civil society through state-led policy-making institutions.

Top tips for business information

via Karen Blakeman’s Blog

Here are the Top Tips for business information compiled by the participants of my latest business information workshop held on 15 November 2012 in London.

The set of slides that was the starting point for the workshop can be found on authorSTREAM

And the full blog post from Karen is here.

And why, you may ask, do I want you to know about business information and how to find it.

Because, say I, if you are looking for a job you need to investigate lots of possibilities and find out about a lot of companies and what they do and where they do it and so on and so forth.

Not all of the items that are top tips for business information will be top tips for career research but you get to choose which ones to use.

Predicting employees’ satisfaction and burnout from managers’ attachment and caregiving orientations

an article by Sigalit Ronen (Trident University International, Cypress, USA) and Mario Mikulincer (The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzlyia, Israel) pubslished in European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology Volume 21 Number 6 (December 2012)


In recent years, there have been initial attempts to apply attachment theory to account for leader-follower relationships and leaders’ contribution to followers’ performance.

Drawing on this theoretical framework, we examined the relationships between managers’ attachment orientations and subordinates’ job satisfaction and burnout.

Data were collected from 85 work groups from 71 organisations consisting of 483 subordinates and their 85 direct managers from a variety of job roles.

Hierarchical linear modelling analyses indicated that managers’ attachment insecurities predicted higher job burnout and lower job satisfaction among subordinates, and that ineffective caring orientation of the managers mediated these links.

Findings further showed that subordinates’ attachment insecurities were associated with burnout and job dissatisfaction. Implications for leadership research and for the design of organisational intervention as well as future research directions are discussed.

The Nature and Use of Individualized Learning Plans as a Promising Career Intervention Strategy

an article by V. Scott Solberg, L. Allen Phelps, Kristin A. Haakenson and Julie F. Durham (Boston University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA) and Joe Timmons (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA) published in Journal of Career Development Volume 39 Number 6 (December 2012)


Individualised learning plans (ILPs) are being implemented in high schools throughout the United States as strategic planning tools that help students align course plans with career aspirations and often include the development of post-secondary plans.

Initial indications are that ILPs may be an important method for helping students achieve both college and career readiness.

Parents, teachers, and students indicate that ILPs result in students selecting more rigorous courses, better teacher-student relationships, and positive parent-school relations.

This article describes the emergence and nature of ILPs, promising practice strategies as well as challenges associated with gaining whole school buy-in, and the potential for career and vocational research.

Enabling Social Innovation through Developmental Social Finance

an article by Sean Geobey, Frances R. Westley and Olaf Weber (University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) published in Journal of Social Entrepreneurship Volume 3 Issue 2 (October 2012)


This paper explores social finance as a strategy for generating social innovations and, at the same time, financial returns. It explores why risk assessment for social finance is so challenging and suggests three sources of difficulty: setting boundaries, integrating heterogeneous values, and responding with sufficient speed and flexibility to support innovation.

It suggests links between the seemingly distinct challenges of social finance being able to maximise its impact at different stages of the innovation process in a complex socio-ecological system, whilst also acting as a reframing agent in terms of the understanding of the system itself at other stages.

Finally, this paper develops a new concept ‘developmental impact investing’ as a modified version of a portfolio strategy that uses a range of projects both to manage risk and to generate new knowledge about the complex systems in which the social finance attempts to create impact and innovation.

Learning the lessons of property-led regeneration: Maximising the employment legacy of major physical developments

an article by Alexander McTier, Andrea Glass and Alan McGregor (affiliation(s) not provided) published in Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal Volume 6 Number 1 (Autumn 2012)


The UK’s Urban Development Corporation property-led regeneration of the 1980s and 1990s has been widely criticised for its failure to leave an employment legacy for local communities. The trust placed in the jobs from major physical developments ‘trickling down’ to neighbouring deprived communities has been proved misguided.

However, despite these past failings, there still remain regeneration projects based around major physical developments that proceed without an explicit employment legacy aim.

To help address this, this paper revisits the lessons from 1980s and 1990s property-led regeneration policy and tests these against 13 local employment interventions linked to major physical developments across England and Scotland.

In assessing whether the lessons remain valid, the paper identifies the practical steps taken to maximise the local employment legacy from the 13 major physical developments, which in turn will help to inform future interventions.

Statistics Behind Paying Off Student Loan

via Career Geek by careergeek
Paying off your student loan is a daunting prospect, especially when you have just graduated.
So how long will it actually take?

The infographic below from tells us just how long and how much a typical professional would pay back.
For example I, as an Engineer, would take around 30 years to pay back.

Full size plus links to other useful information
The post Statistics Behind Paying Off Student Loan [INFOGRAPHIC] appeared first on Career Geek.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Graduate Employability: A Review of Conceptual and Empirical Themes

an article by Michael Tomlinson (University of Southampton, UK) published in Higher Education Policy Volume 25 Issue 4 (December 2012)


The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of some of the dominant empirical and conceptual themes in the area of graduate employment and employability over the past decade.

The paper considers the wider context of higher education (HE) and labour market change, and the policy thinking towards graduate employability. It draws upon various studies to highlight the different labour market perceptions, experiences and outcomes of graduates in the United Kingdom and other national contexts.

It further draws upon research that has explored the ways in which students and graduates construct their employability and begin to manage the transition from HE to work. The paper explores some of the conceptual notions that have informed understandings of graduate employability, and argues for a broader understanding of employability than that offered by policy-makers.

Local Labour Market Diversity and Business Innovation: Evidence from Irish Manufacturing Businesses

an article by Helen McGuirk (University of Limerick, Ireland) and Declan Jordan (University College Cork, Ireland) published in European Planning Studies Volume 20 Issue 12 (December 2012)


This paper estimates the effect of diversity within local labour markets on business-level innovation. Using survey data and Irish census data, the paper explores whether the diversity of human capital at county level is associated with higher innovation output.

Diversity in age, nationality and educational attainment is measured using an index of heterogeneity and its effect on business innovation is estimated using an innovation production function approach. It is found that diversity in nationality and educational attainment is positively associated with the probability of a business product innovating.

The findings also suggest that greater external labour market diversity and greater levels of internal third-level education may be substitutes. Where a business is in a diverse location, it may not require higher levels of educational attainment among its workforce to source knowledge for product innovation.

After restructuring: Labour markets, working conditions and life satisfaction

ERM (European Restructuring Monitor) Report 2012 (Ref: EF/12/61/EN) by John Hurley, Jean-Marie Jungblut, Anja Meierkord, Donald Storrie and Carlos Vacas with Andrea Broughton published by the European Foundation for the Improvement of living and Working Conditions

Executive summary


The 2012 Report from the European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) analyses the consequences of restructuring for the individual employee. Specifically, it examines which employees lost their job at the onset of the recent economic crisis, which of them found a new job and how these events, job loss and subsequent re-employment, impacted on their overall personal situation and life satisfaction. It also looks at the impact on working conditions for the employees who continue to work at the restructured firm. The situations of these two groups – those who lost their jobs and those who stayed at the restructured workplace – have never before been analysed by using common, EU wide and representative, datasets.

Policy context

The overarching EU policy concern is that in 2012 there are 5 million fewer jobs in Europe than there were in 2008. Many of these jobs were terminated through the dismissal of employees following restructuring. The European Union has for decades provided support to mitigate the negative effects of restructuring for employees, mainly through the European Social Fund and more recently with the European Globalization Fund. Furthermore, the recent European Commission’s Green Paper on Restructuring reflects policy concerns about the impact of restructuring for employees who stay at the company, not least from the perspective that ‘poorly managed restructuring can have a significant negative long-term impact on the human resources of companies, thereby weakening this key resource for competitiveness’.

Key findings
  • Several employment indicators show that while on average the labour market continues to deteriorate, there is wide variation among Member States. Countries such as Austria, Germany and Poland, in fact, continue to exhibit reasonably positive labour market developments.
  • While job loss at restructuring has fallen from the high levels experienced at the start of the economic crisis, there are still overall more cases of job loss than job gain announced in the ERM.
  • Employees with the highest probability to lose their jobs are generally less likely to find a new one. These people can be characterised as having low levels of education, belonging to a minority, having a foreign background, having significant health problems and low occupational status.
  • Having long tenure protects against job loss, but when long-tenured workers lose their job, they are less likely to find a new one.
  • Those who lose their job report a lower level of life satisfaction and significant depreciation of their life situation than those employees who do not lose their jobs.
  • The job losers who subsequently find a new job report significantly higher life satisfaction than those who do not.
  • Just over a third (37%) of EU27 employees reported that restructuring took place in the previous three years. These ‘stayers’ are most likely to be in higher occupational groups and working in larger establishments, as well as employees working in traditionally state-funded sectors.
  • There is significant cross-national variation in the extent of reported restructuring, with employees in the Nordic cluster of Denmark, Finland and Sweden reporting the highest level of workplace restructuring (between 55 to 62%). The lowest levels were recorded in some eastern Member States (Poland and Bulgaria) and southern Member States (Italy, Spain and Greece).
  • On the positive side, work organisation features associated with high performance work systems were found to be more prevalent in restructured workplaces: higher levels of employee autonomy, more access to training, a higher incidence of teamwork, and employees having greater influence and involvement in how work is organised.
  • On the negative side, the analysis also confirms associations between restructuring and higher work intensity as well as lower job security. Restructured employees, especially those in bluecollar occupations, were more likely to find themselves in ‘high strain’ work. They were also more likely to report higher exposure to workplace psychosocial risks, higher levels of psychosomatic disorders and of absenteeism.
  • In general, the analysis signals potential negative associations between restructuring and employees’ self-reported health. The fact that it does so consistently across a broad range of indicators suggests that these associations are not spurious even if specific causal mechanisms are necessarily complex and not so easy to demonstrate.
Policy pointers

The fact that those most likely to lose their jobs are least likely to find new ones strongly suggests that institutions and policies are not sufficiently developed to ensure that the external flexicurity model does not lead to negative distributional effects. It also highlights that active labour market policy regarding restructuring should focus on the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

The high life satisfaction scores of persons who found a new job soon after losing their old job underscores the importance of activation policy for employees.

Some of the negative impact on stayers is almost certainly related to the restructuring process itself, as the reported restructuring event was to have taken place in the previous three years. This underlines the importance of a careful management of the change process, not least as regards the health and well-being of employees. The results further suggest that recent initiatives, mentioned in the Commission’s Green Paper on Restructuring, undertaken by companies and social partners in some sectors undergoing particularly strong change to manage mental health issues at workplaces should be expanded further to cover all sectors.

Full text (PDF 109pp)

Youth Studies and Timescapes Insights From an Ethnographic Study of “Young Night Drifters” in Hong Kong’s Public Housing Estates

an article by Julian M. Groves (Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, PRC), Wai-Yip Ho (City University of Hong Kong, PRC) and Kaxton Siu (Australian National University, Canberra) published in Youth & Society Volume 44 Number 4 (December 2012)


This article draws on insights from the sociology of time to examine how scheduling influences social interaction and identity among young people and those who work with them.

Drawing on an ethnographic analysis of “Young Night Drifters” and youth outreach social workers in Hong Kong’s public housing estates, we create a framework to understand youth in the context of time scheduling. Certain time schedules provide opportunities for young people to enjoy greater intimacy and looser authority structures.

The particular scheduling of young people’s activities can expose them to delinquent groups and activities and isolate them from mainstream society. Time is also a marker that creates new identities and shapes interactions between youth workers and their clients. By focusing on the timing of youth activities, we redress an imbalance in the literature on youth studies which has been preoccupied with space.

Overcrowding: the story behind the statistics

via JRF – Combined Feed by Kathleen Kelly

This film follows the Stone family as they struggle to cope with life in the overcrowded and damp council flat where they lived until the tragic death of their youngest child Telan on 6 October. They have since been rehoused by York Council.
This is one of six short observational documentaries from the frontline of poverty in Britain funded by the Rowntree Foundation

When you watch a film like this it’s really easy to forget the history of social housing as a step up in housing conditions from the slums of the time.

Only 3 per cent of households in England live in overcrowded conditions. York is quite close to that overall rate with 2.1 per cent of households overcrowded, putting it joint fifth in the English regions.

What’s important about this film is that it shows how those relatively small statistics are completely dwarfed by the reality of what it’s actually like to struggle with damp and cramped conditions every day, never knowing when or if your circumstances will change.

That feeling of being trapped with no obvious way out is easy to relate to when you hear how the family’s home moved seamlessly from a temporary to a permanent housing solution.

There has been major Government investment in the quality of housing, especially social housing, to bring it up to decent standards. With 29 per cent of households in poverty in England still living in a home that fails to meet adequate housing standards, this film shows the importance of continuing that work.

Watching this film a second time, Kia and Simon’s hopeful resilience while waiting to see where they are in the housing queue each week is especially hard to bear. With 4 per cent of households in England having someone on a housing waiting or transfer list, moving to better housing conditions isn’t necessarily quick or easy to achieve. That’s especially true when you don’t have the money for private rental deposits or on-going rent shortfalls.

Many people reading this will now be thinking about the #propertyscandal of all those empty homes. Of the 940,000 empty homes in England, around 17 per cent are social housing. In 2010 over a third of these empty homes were flats. Empty homes are also more likely to be below a decent standard.

Tackling empty homes has got to be a part of the solution. But these statistics are there to remind us that bringing all those empty homes back into use won’t solve the housing crisis on their own.

Neither will a “bedroom tax” that docks the housing benefit of social tenants with more bedrooms than they need from April 2013. The simple fact of the matter is that we’re building less than half the homes we need to meet household formation.

The film brought to mind an old evaluation of social housing initiatives on under occupation, which found that:
a combination of positive inducements and the personal approach was the most effective for encouraging moves. Specialist staff who engage with tenants on a one to one basis, discussing their requirements in detail, explaining what help and properties are available can be particularly effective at facilitating moves.
What that quote and this film really underline for me is the importance of acknowledging people’s stories.

The sad death of Telan in her cot only four weeks after filming demonstrates Kia and Simon’s resilience in allowing this film to be shown. Call me naïve but it also highlights for me how we might get further on campaigns to build new homes and address under occupation if we made sure that stories like these were heard.

Impact Metrics for Social Innovation: Barriers or Bridges to Radical Change?

an article by Nino Antadze and Frances R. Westley (University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) published in Journal of Social Entrepreneurship Volume 3 Issue 2 (October 2012)


Addressing society’s complex problems means fundamentally challenging systems and their economic, social and environmental dimensions. Current measurement tools and evaluation approaches are grounded in conventional accounting practices, and thus tend to a focus on the outcomes of products and services, mainly evaluating economic performance.

This presents a particular challenge when it comes to evaluating the impacts of social innovation, which have intended effects beyond economic and financial.

This paper describes conventional measurement tools and their limitations for evaluating social impact, and proposes that developmental evaluation is more suited to evaluating social innovation.

The consequences of not developing new metrics for social innovation are discussed in terms of the disadvantages for decision-making.

'Act now' to address engineers' low status, MPs told by IET

an article by Richard Wilson published in

The head of the professional engineering body, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), has told a committee of MPs that the British society’s lack of understanding of the role of engineering, and the value of engineering skills to the economy, needs to be addressed.

He said this must begin with better careers advice at schools.

“More work needs to be done to improve the public’s understanding of what engineering is and the diversity of engineering jobs and careers, including vocational routes and especially apprenticeships,” Nigel Fine, chief executive of the IET, told the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into ‘Engineering Skills’.

According to Fine, if this is not addressed, there will be a worryingly small pipeline of young people going on to pursue technical careers, resulting in a continuing skills gap and negative consequences for the UK economy.

“Careers advice in the UK is very poor,” said Fine.

Continure reading

Work as dance

an article by John Chandler (University of East London, UK)published in Organization Volume 19 Number 6 (November 2012)


This article argues that use of the dance analogy has potential as an heuristic device in ethnographies of work.

The nature and variety of dance is explored as a way of studying movement, gendered embodiment, audience, emotion and rhythm at work. It can thus serve to provide a richly multi-dimensional view of work, while also having the potential to draw attention to the unfolding of patterns of work over time.

While such an approach has much in common with classic studies of work, as well as some more recent work that emphasises work as embodied practice, it may also open up new avenues or at least unsettle some of the dominant ways of researching work and its organisation.

As such it is offered as a stimulus to debate on the nature of work and its organization and how it might be understood. There are, however, limitations to the dance analogy and these mean that the approach might be best seen as a useful complement to approaches which focus on the verbal, rather than sufficient in itself.

Using Wikipedia for extracting hierarchy and building geo-ontology

an article by Quoc-Hung Ngo (University of Information Technology, HoChiMinh City, Vietnam), Son Doan (University of California, San Diego, USA) and Werner Winiwarter (University of Vienna, Austria) published in International Journal of Web Information Systems, Volume 8 Issue 4 (2012)


This paper aims to serves two main purposes: First, it seeks to provide an overview of the location hierarchy from the highest divisions (continents) to the lowest divisions (wards, villages) in reality and in the Wikipedia pages. Secondly, it aims to introduce an approach to building a geographical ontology from Wikipedia.
The paper first reviews existing applications which extract information from Wikipedia and use it as a data resource to develop natural language processing tools. The paper also reviews the structure of Wikipedia pages which show the location’s information. Based on the analysis, the paper then proposes an approach to extract location hierarchy as well as geographical characteristics for the geo-ontology. The approach also rebuilds the relations between locations in the ontology.
Existing location name systems are mainly based on probabilistic locations, which are mined from the data and they lack the administrative relations between locations for full levels and all countries and territories. The literature review in geographical hierarchy and using Wikipedia for natural language processing tasks offers an approach to build a geographical ontology from Wikipedia pages. The proposed approach is believed to be the first which provides a full geo-ontology for all countries.
Practical implications
The paper builds a geo-ontology with full levels for all countries and territories. The administrative relations between locations are needed for real-world applications.
The comprehensive overview on existing work on geo-ontology provides a valuable reference for researchers and system developers in related research communities. The proposed approach to build a geographical ontology by using the Wikipedia offers a promising alternative to build a knowledge system from free online multi-language encyclopedia.

Hazel’s comment:
It sounds as though this would be a valuable tool in the hands of labour market researchers and also for guidance practitioners unsure of geography outside their own area.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Emigration from the UK

a research report (Home Office Number 68) by Rosemary Murray, David Harding, Timothy Angus, Rebecca Gillespie and Harsimran Arora


This report sets out to summarise the key aspects of the scale and nature of long-term emigration from the UK, including some trends over the last 20 years. It draws on a range of information sources, including published academic research, and on survey data produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) including Long-Term Migration estimates (LTIM) and International Passenger Survey (IPS) estimates.1 The report also presents some associations between economic factors and emigration by particular groups

Key findings:
  • Of those emigrating from the UK in 2011 with an intention to change their normal place of residence and to stay there more than a year, around 43 per cent (149,000) were British citizens; the remaining 57 per cent (most of whom were returning to their country of origin) comprised almost equal numbers of European Union (EU) citizens and non-EU citizens.
  • The majority of emigrants from the UK leave for work-related reasons (72% of those migrating from the UK who provided a reason, in 2011).
  • Over the last ten years, more than a third of British, EU and non-EU citizens who emigrated, left to take up definite jobs but a much smaller proportion (18%) of British citizens compared to the other two groups (34% of EU citizens and 42% of non-EU citizens) left to look for work.
  • A large and increasing proportion of British citizens emigrating from the UK are those from professional or managerial occupations and this may have implications for the availability of skills in the UK. In 2010 almost one-half (48%) of British emigrants were previously in professional or managerial roles.
  • There appears to be an association between changes in levels of British and EU citizens’ emigration from the UK and changes in both levels of unemployment and relevant exchange rates. Emigration of non-EU citizens from the UK appears less associated with these economic factors.
  • Migration of EU citizens to the UK is much more ‘circular’ than of non-EU citizens reflecting the greater freedom of movement of EU citizens, and lower distances and travel costs to return home. Larger proportions of non-EU migrants who came to the UK have settled permanently.
Australia has consistently been the most popular destination country for British emigrants over the last 20 years. Other key destinations for British emigrants include Spain, the USA, France, Germany, Canada and New Zealand. An estimated 4.7 million UK-born people live abroad with the largest stocks in Australia, the USA, Canada, Spain and Ireland. The UK ranks eighth highest in the world in terms of the number of its nationals living abroad (World Bank, 2011).

British citizens, responding to the IPS, most frequently said their main reason2 for emigrating was to take up a definite job. Most were planning to be away for four years or more.

The majority of British people emigrating abroad are of working age (89% in 2008 to 2010). Despite this, a lot of research on UK emigration has focused on those retiring overseas, particularly within Europe. There was a sharp increase in British people over retirement age, moving abroad in 2005 and 2006, reaching a peak of 22,000 in 2006. This has since fallen back to previous levels of around 4,000 to 8,000 retired British people emigrating each year. The growth in house values in the UK compared to elsewhere in Europe may have enabled British property owners to sell up and live more cheaply abroad, while enjoying a better climate and quality of life. However, this may have changed since the recession.

Numbers of British citizens going abroad for formal study have remained around five to ten thousand a year despite the increase (by around one-fifth over the last ten years) in numbers of British people going to university (Universities UK, 2011). Recent changes to English university fees may lead more British citizens to go abroad for study in the future. A higher proportion of EU citizens emigrating from the UK over the last ten years, compared to British or non EU citizens, were emigrating for formal study.

There appears to be an inverse association between British emigration and unemployment in the UK. In general, as UK unemployment falls, more British people emigrate and when unemployment in the UK is high, fewer British people emigrate. This seems counter-intuitive but might be partly due to unemployed people having fewer resources to fund a move abroad and also due to simultaneous downturns in the economies of some of the key destinations for British emigrants. This association varies depending on where people are emigrating to, with the relationship appearing stronger among those emigrating to the EU (dominated by flows to Spain and France) in the mid- to late-2000s and weaker among those going to the USA. It might imply that economic recovery both in the UK and in key destination countries would lead to more British citizens emigrating for work. Among non-British citizens who emigrated from the UK between 1991 and 2010, around 78 per cent were leaving after a stay of between one and four years. This proportion was similar among EU and non-EU migrants but it only includes those who actually left the UK. A higher proportion of non-EU migrants remain permanently in the UK compared to EU migrants.

Among non-EU migrants to the UK, citizens of ‘New Commonwealth’ countries, particularly those from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, were much more likely to stay permanently in the UK when compared to migrants from ‘Old Commonwealth’ countries such as Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, although outward migration of foreign nationals depends to a large extent on previous inward migration, it is not simply the overall level of migration into the UK that has affected later emigration (and net migration) but also the relative proportions coming from different areas of the world and the extent to which their migration tends to be circular or permanent.

Associations between emigration from the UK and economic factors such as employment and currency exchange rates suggest that emigration of EU citizens is more sensitive to such factors than emigration of non-EU citizens. There appears to be little relationship between emigration of non-EU citizens from the UK and changes in economic conditions in the UK relative to source countries. It may be that even in the recent economic downturn, for migrants from poorer countries, the UK still offers more attractive economic opportunities than returning home. Also in practical terms, travel within Europe is generally cheaper and quicker than from further afield and EU citizens have free movement, enabling them to easily leave and return to the UK later if they choose to.

1 The estimates relate to ‘long-term migrants’ using the following definition from the United Nations Statistics Division 1998): ‘long-term migrants are persons who move to a country other than that of their usual residence for a period of at least one year, so that the country of destination effectively becomes their new country of usual residence’.
2 The IPS asks for an individual’s ‘main reason’ for migrating and the data reflects just one reason for each respondent even though many may be migrating for more than one reason.

Full text (PDF 62pp)

An Overwhelming Climb: The Complexities of Combining College, Full-Time Work, and Company Tuition Assistance

an article by Janelle L. Gagnon and Becky Wai-Ling Packard (Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, USA) published in Journal of Career Development Volume 39 Number 6 (December 2012)


This paper examines the complex experiences of full-time employed adults trying to climb the career ladder in their company by making use of company tuition assistance to earn their first college degree.

Guided by Savickas’ (2005) career construction theory, emphasising the personal agency and meaning-making within career development, we conducted phenomenological interviews with a purposive sample of eight men and women from six different companies using company tuition assistance while working full-time.

Participants held complex feelings toward dual roles of work and school including feeling overwhelmed and delayed in their progress as well as experiencing positive synergy between school and work roles.

Workplace features such as flexible scheduling and having an encouraging supervisor facilitated progress.

Implications for understanding and supporting the career development of full-time employed adults are discussed.

The return of city centre living?

via Centre for Cities by Paul Swinney

ONS has released today [23 November 2012] Census population data at geographies below a local authority level. And as it is increasingly doing, it has provided the data in a very user friendly way [Note to self: stop checking my home area!] to compare it to 2001. I strongly suggest you use a couple of minutes [hours?] of your Friday afternoon to look at it.

A very quick play with it shows how city centres have become increasingly attractive as residential areas in some cities in recent years. As the screenshot below shows, this is very clear in Manchester – its city centre has transformed from a place to leave to a place to live.

A similar trend is seen in other cities too, such as Leeds and Sheffield. We'll look to do a more detailed analysis on these figures soon.

Managing manipulation: tools and challenges in creative collaborations with intellectually-disabled people

an article by Michael Noonan (Department, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia) published in Disability & Society Volume 27 Issue 7 (December 2012)


There has long been an ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality when it comes to the production of disability narratives on screen, driven by an assumption that non-disabled people cannot accurately interpret the disabled experience.

Given the appalling history of representations by non-disabled filmmakers, it is easy to understand why many academics and members of the disability community favour the complete control of disability content by disabled people. But this approach has failed the many compelling ‘disabled voices’ that go unheard because they do not reach audiences.

The most practical solution is to forge new models of creative collaboration between disabled and non-disabled people, something I attempted to do with my PhD film, a comedy feature entitled Down Under Mystery Tour. I discovered that the most important tool in such collaborations is the utilisation and management of manipulation, one that prioritises skill and experience and best expresses the unique perspective of intellectually-disabled collaborators.

E-Research Collaboration in Academia and Industry

an article by Bay Arinze (Drexel University, USA) published in International Journal of e-Collaboration Volume 8 Number 2 (April-June 2012)


E-Collaboration has come of age in the last decade, with industry and academia using the latest web-based collaborative software to bring together groups of workers to work on common tasks.

Research is a $370 billion industry in the United States and is conducted in every sector of the economy. It has collaboration at its core. Most innovations result from collaborative efforts between groups of workers who are often geographically dispersed. Academic leaders now seek the synergies that result from collaboration between their research faculty and others.

Web 2.0-based research portals have emerged that allow knowledge sharing and lowering of social barriers between researchers.

Another important development is cloud computing, which has dramatically reduced computing costs for organizations. These tools allow researchers in both industry and academia to extend their range and reach, gain synergies between dispersed groups, and increase research efficiency and effectiveness.

This paper examines the use of e-research collaboration tools in industry and academia. It describes a framework that matches an organization’s e-research collaboration needs to e-research collaboration solutions across several critical dimensions. The proposed framework will help to improve the understanding of available options for e-collaboration infrastructures, particularly in the sub-area of e-research. It will also help to identify the fit between these infrastructures and organizational e-research collaboration needs.

Understanding the online information-seeking behaviours of young people: the role of networks of support

an article by R. Eynon and L.-E. Malmberg (University of Oxford, UK) published in Journal of Computer Assisted Learning Volume 28 Issue 6 (December 2012)


Information seeking is one of the most popular online activities for young people and can provide an additional information channel, which may enhance learning.

In this study, we propose and test a model that adds to the existing literature by examining the ways in which parents, schools, and friends (what we call networks of support) effect young people’s online information behaviours, while at the same time taking into account young people’s individual characteristics, confidence, and skills to use the Internet.

Using path analysis, we demonstrate the significance of networks of support in understanding the uptake of online information seeking both directly and indirectly (through enhancing self-concept for learning and online skills).

Young people who have better networks of support, particularly friends who are engaged in technology, are more likely to engage in online information seeking.

While quantitative models of this nature cannot capture the complexity of individual online search practices, these findings may assist in the development of policy and practice to support young people to make the most effective use of the Internet for information seeking.

Leviathan calling: Some notes on sociological anti-statism and its consequences

an article by Paul du Gay (Copenhagen Business School (CBS)) published in Journal of Sociology Volume 48 Number 4 (December 2012)


A spectre has haunted many forms of ‘social’ explanation over the course of the last century – the spectre of anti-statism.

For not a few sociologists and social theorists, the state has long been regarded as the medium of enslavement, the very antithesis of what they take to be ‘civil society’. Here the state is viewed as a cold monster whose conducts (impersonalism, coercion, indifference, authority – the list is potentially endless) need to be relentlessly exposed and critiqued for their malign influence on the ‘whole human being’ and on ‘society’, which is seen as a naturally occurring phenomenon.

This article argues that this enduring opposition between state and civil society represents an unfortunate error, arising from a perverse tradition which would do away with the state. This problematic tradition was born in liberal and democratic ideas of civil society, was embodied in the romantic apotheosis of the purely and metapolitically social, was radicalised by Marxist designs for a society without a state, and culminated in Nazism and Communism.

It has survived, however, frequently ‘in mufti’, into our own times and can be found in the social sciences, inter alia, in contemporary social constructionist analyses, such as those associated with certain Foucauldian analytics of ‘government’, and in the moralising edicts of ‘cosmopolitanism’.

Against this tradition, the article sees the state as a remarkable, if fragile, achievement, whose withering away does and will continue to bring forth (predictable) monsters. Rather than the antithesis of society, the state is the major vehicle of human liberty, of social peace and security, and, paradoxically, provides sanctuary for the political critics who attack it.

“Feeling” hierarchy: The pathway from subjective social status to achievement

an article by Mesmin Destin, Scott Richman and Jelani Mandara (Northwestern University, Evanston, USA) and Fatima Varner (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA) published in Journal of Adolescence Volume 35 Issue 6 (December 2012)


The current study tested a psychosocial mediation model of the association between subjective social status (SSS) and academic achievement for youth.

The sample included 430 high school students from diverse racial/ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Those who perceived themselves to be at higher social status levels had higher GPAs.

As predicted by the model, most of the relationship was mediated by emotional distress and study skills and habits. The lower SSS students had more depressive symptoms, which led to less effective studying and lower GPA.

The model held across different racial/ethnic groups, was tested against alternative models, and results remained stable controlling for objective socio-economic status. Implications for identity-based intervention are discussed.

Figures and tables from this article

Monday, 26 November 2012

Who is eligible for free school meals? Characterising free school meals as a measure of disadvantage in England

an article by Stephen Gorard (University of Birmingham, UK) published in British Educational Research Journal Volume 38 Issue 6 (December 2012)


This paper presents a description of the background characteristics and attainment profile of pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) in England, and of those missing a value for this variable.

Free school meal eligibility is a measure of low parental income, widely used in social policy research as an individual indicator of potential disadvantage. It is routinely treated as context for judging both individual and school-level attainment, as an indicator of school composition, and has been proposed as the basis for the pupil premium funding policy for schools.

Knowledge of the quality, reach and limitations of FSM as an indicator is therefore fundamental to accurate decision-making in a number of important areas. This paper uses a national dataset of all pupils (PLASC) for 2007. It looks at the relationship between different indicators of pupil background and attainment to help decide how useful FSM remains in relation to its suggested alternatives, and how to handle the crucial question of missing data and to describe more fully than previously the national picture of who is eligible for free school meals.

The results show that, while the distinction between take-up and eligibility has been eroded, FSM remains a useful and clear stratifying variable for pupil attainment patterns in school, linked to type of school attended, school mobility, living in care, special needs, first language and minority ethnic group. The pupils missing FSM values fall into two groups, based largely on their type of school and how long they have been there.

One group attends fee-paying schools and is most similar to non-FSM pupils elsewhere and could be aggregated with them in future analyses that do not want to omit them.

The remaining missing FSM pupils form a deprived and perhaps super-deprived group. These should not be omitted, nor assumed to be like non-FSM pupils, as currently happens in official school performance figures in England in a way that disadvantages schools with very deprived intakes.

The proposal here is that missing FSM pupils in state-funded institutions should be treated in future as a third distinct group. If these issues about missing data are resolved, and other limitations accepted, FSM remains a better indicator of low socioeconomic status than the current alternatives discussed in the paper.

Pupils not claiming free school meals

a research report (DFE-RR235) by Samaira Iniesta-Martinez and Helen Evans for the Department for Education published November 2012

The aim of this paper is to present estimates of the numbers and proportions of pupils who are entitled to receive free school meals (FSM) but are not currently claiming.

Key findings
  • Benefits data from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) suggests that around 1.4 million (21%) of children aged 4-15 in England are entitled to receive FSM.
  • School Census data shows that around 1.2 million (18%) of 4-15 year old pupils in maintained schools are registered to claim FSM.
  • Therefore around 200,000 pupils (3% of all pupils aged 4-15) appear to be entitled but are not claiming FSM.
  • This means 14% of pupils entitled to FSM are not claiming them.
  • In the South East and East of England nearly one quarter of entitled pupils are not claiming FSM, which contrasts sharply with the North East where the equivalent figure is 2%.
  • At local authority (LA) level under-registration rates range between 0% and 33%. LAs with the highest under-registration rates are Buckinghamshire and Richmond (both 33%), and Suffolk and Surrey (32%).
  • The proportion of pupils entitled to FSM decreases with age: 24% of 5-year-olds are entitled compared to 18% of 15-year-olds.
  • Of those pupils entitled to FSM, the proportion not claiming FSM is the same for both primary school and secondary school aged pupils.
  • Analysis using survey data suggests that pupils with the following characteristics, which are not directly linked to the FSM criteria, have lower likelihoods of claiming FSM. This is after other characteristics have been taken into account:
    • pupils living in a less deprived area;
    • pupils attending schools with a lower school FSM rate;
    • pupils from families with higher status occupations (i.e. professional rather than routine occupations);
    • pupils living in a family with higher parental qualifications; and
    • pupils of Chinese ethnic origin.
  • There is some evidence to suggest that families entitled to FSM while in some part-time work are less likely to claim FSM than those on out-of-work benefits.
Full text (PDF 30pp)

The welfare system is already stacked against the young

via The Staggers by Jon Stone

The decision to remove housing benefit from the under-25s is just another item on the list of ways our welfare system is penalising the young.

David Cameron wants to take housing benefit away from under-25s, arguing the move would save £2bn a year. Housing benefit is mainly claimed by those in work, with 93 per cent of new claimants and 80 per cent of total recipients in a job, so the plan would largely be a redistribution from young low-wage workers to elsewhere.

Thirteen major charities have attacked the proposal, arguing it would take a vital safety net away from young people. What is rarely mentioned is that the welfare state is already stacked against young people in other areas, with the housing benefit plan simply another item on a list.

Continue reading

The article provides information on:
  • Working tax credit
  • National Minimum Wage
  • Work Programme
  • Jobseekers’ Allowance
and concludes:

Defenders of the set-up might argue that young people are less likely to have a family or other commitments and so have lower costs. But the welfare system already takes these things into account through situational payments like child benefit. Moreover, it would be difficult to imagine such restrictions imposed solely on the basis of age at the top end. It’s not clear that further sanctions on the young is consistent with the Government’s claim to want to share the pain of austerity equally, when they already get significantly less out of the system.

Government told it must face significant Universal Credit problems

staff writers at Ekklesia: a new way of thinking

Responding to the report on Universal Credit by the Work and Pensions Select Committee, which warns that the new benefits system could push low-income families into debt, Trades Union Congress General Secretary Brendan Barber has declared that, “The concerns raised in this report must not be ignored”.

He followed a host of NGO and charity experts, who say that the government must not run away from the difficulties the simplifying Universal Credit - welcomed in principle but feared in detail and practice by many – entails.

The report was launched in the House of Commons on 22 November 2012 by the Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, Dame Anne Begg MP.

“It is deeply disturbing that some local authorities are already warning that the new monthly payment system could force some low-income families to turn to pay-day loan companies and loan sharks in an attempt to get by,” commented the outgoing TUC chief.

Mr Barber continued: “Ministers must also ensure that vulnerable people can access the new system. Moving the claims process entirely online seems like another potential recipe for disaster that could leave many applicants unsure about how to apply for their payments. Universal Credit is supposed to be about simplifying the benefits system not making it more complicated.

Continue reading (also contains a link to the report)

Hazel’s comment:
Many people on benefits do not have regular access to the internet and in this neck of the woods (Kettering in Northamptonshire) it costs £1 for 20 minutes at the public library. Put that on top of the difficulties of trying to budget monthly and I fear for many local families.

The social experience of physically disabled Australian university students

an article by Maria Papasotiriou and Joel Windle (Monash University, Victoria, Australia) published in Disability & Society Volume 27 Issue 7 (December 2012)


Research on the university experience of disabled students has focused on barriers in learning and teaching, while the social world of university has as yet gained little attention as a distinctive object of study.

Here we examine social experience and socially imposed restrictions through the lenses of social capital and self-concept. A qualitative study investigated the formation of social capital and changes in self-concept amongst physically disabled Australian university students.

Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and analysed using a grounded theory approach.

The study found weak social attachments at university, but stronger attachments outside. Self-concept did not appear to be structured in any direct way by university-generated social capital, partly as a consequence of its weakness.

Psychosocial safety climate as an antecedent of work characteristics and psychological strain: A multilevel model

an article by Maureen F. Dollard and Tessa Opie (University of South Australia),  Sue Lenthall and John Wakerman (Centre for Remote Health, a joint Centre of Flinders University & Charles Darwin University, Alice Springs),  Sabina Knight (James Cook University, Mt Isa, Australia),  Sandra Dunn (Charles Darwin University, Darwin),   Greg Rickard (Healthcare Australia, Sydney) and Martha MacLeod (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada) published in Work & Stress: An International Journal of Work, Health & Organisations Volume 26 Issue 4 (November 2012)


Psychosocial safety climate (PSC) refers to a specific organizational climate for the psychological health of workers. It is largely determined by management and at low levels is proposed as a latent pathogen for psychosocial risk factors and psychological strain.

Using an extended Job Demands-Control-Support framework, we predicted the (24 month) cross-level effects of PSC on psychological strain via work conditions.

We used a novel design whereby data from two unrelated samples of nurses working in remote areas were used across time (N=202, Time 1; N=163, Time 2), matched at the work unit level (N= 48). Using hierarchical linear modelling we found that unit PSC assessed by nurses predicted work conditions (workload, control, supervisor support) and psychological strain in different nurses in the same work unit 24 months later.

There was evidence that the between-group relationship between unit PSC and psychological strain was mediated via Time 2 work conditions (workload, job control) as well as Time 1 emotional demands. The results support a multilevel work stress model with PSC as a plausible primary cause, or “cause of the causes”, of work-related strain. The study adds to the literature that identifies organizational contextual factors as origins of the work stress process.

Temporal Stability, Correlates, and Longitudinal Outcomes of Career Indecision Factors

an article by Margaret M. Nauta (Illinois State University, Normal, USA) published in Journal of Career Development Volume 39 Number 6 (December 2012)


A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) tested the fit of Kelly and Lee’s six-factor model of career decision problems among 188 college students.

The six-factor model did not fit the data well, but a five-factor (Lack of Information, Need for Information, Trait Indecision, Disagreement with Others, and Choice Anxiety) model did provide a good fit.

Scores for four of the five factors demonstrated 8-month test–retest stability; scores on Disagreement with Others were not stable over the retest period.

Trait indecision was negatively associated with age and year in school, but the other career indecision factors were not associated with age or year in school.

Three of the five career indecision factors were associated with career decision-making self-efficacy assessed 8 months later, but only one factor (Trait Indecision) was associated with the subsequent declaration of a major among formerly undeclared students.

Implications for intervention and future research are discussed.

Every child matters? An evaluation of “Special Educational Needs” programmes in England

an article by Francois Keslair and Eric Maurin (Paris School of Economics (PSE), France) and Sandra McNally (University of Surrey and Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics, UK) published in Economics of Education Review Volume 31 Issue 6 (December 2012)


The need for education to help every child has become more important for policy in the US and the UK. Remedial programmes are often difficult to evaluate because participation is usually based on pupil characteristics that are largely unobservable to the analyst.

We evaluate programmes for children with ‘Special Educational Needs’ in England. We show that the decentralized design of the policy generates much stronger differences across schools in access to remediation resources for children with moderate learning difficulties than for children with either no difficulties or severe difficulties.

However, these differences are not reflected in subsequent educational attainment – suggesting that the programme is ineffective for children with moderate learning difficulties. Also, we use demographic variation within schools to consider the effect of the programme on whole year groups. Our analysis is consistent with no overall effect on account of the combined direct and indirect (spillover) effects. 


► We evaluate programmes for children with moderate ‘Special Educational Needs’ in England.
► There is significant variation in access to resources across children of similar ability.
► This is not reflected in subsequent educational attainment.
► Also, the programme does not generate spillover effects.
► We conclude that the programmes are not working.

JEL classification: I2

Figures and tables from this article are available

The Career and Work Adaptability Questionnaire (CWAQ): A first contribution to its validation

an article by Laura Nota, Salvatore Soresi and Maria Cristina Ginevra (University of Padua, Italy) published in Journal of Adolescence Volume 35 Issue 6 (December 2012)


Over the last decade, occupational changes have the rapidly changing job market has begun to demand that people more actively construct their professional lives and acquire career adaptability.

The aim of the present study was to develop a specific, new instrument, “Career and Work Adaptability”, to assess degree of adaptability in adolescents planning their futures.

We conducted three studies, the first of which aimed to formulate the instrument’s items and to verify its factor structure; the second study confirmed the instrument’s multidimensional structure and evaluated its discriminant validity; the third study was conducted to verify the factorial structure’s across-gender invariance and to evaluate its stability over time.

Our results showed that the instrument is an effective and multidimensional instrument for accurately measuring career adaptability. Specifically, it can serve as a useful vocational guidance tool in analysing adolescents’ career adaptability.

The terrible truth about the Future Jobs Fund

via ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC by Richard Exell

Yesterday (22 Nov) the Department for Work and Pensions published Impacts and Costs and Benefits of the Future Jobs Fund (PDF 86pp), a quantitative evaluation of the last government’s most important job-creation scheme.

This is the programme the government cancelled because it was “ineffective” [Press Notice May 2010]. Earlier this year, Iain Duncan Smith said:

Under the future jobs fund and everything else that was going on under the previous Government they threw money at providers ahead of any kind of outcome, caring only to tick the boxes to say that they had done something rather than that they had done something reasonable.

So it must be embarrassing that this review found that the Future Jobs Fund decreased the amount of time participants spent on benefits and increased the time they spent in unsubsidised employment. Two years after they started their FJF job, participants were 16 per cent less likely to be on benefits than if they had not taken part and 27 per cent more likely to be in unsubsidised employment and …

the impacts of FJF on both welfare receipt and unsubsidised employment were still strong after 104 weeks, so it is reasonable to assume that they will be sustained for some time beyond the 104-week outcome period.

The cost-benefit analysis is particularly impressive:
  • net benefit to participants, about £4,000 per participant; 
  • net benefit to employers, about £6,850 per participant; 
  • net cost to the Exchequer, about £3,100 per participant; and 
  • net benefit to society, about £7,750 per participant.
Perhaps that’s why the DWP’s website (at 5.30 pm on the 23rd) didn’t mention the report on the front page. On the what’s new page it was nowhere to be seen and there wasn’t a press release about it. [If Richard Exell says there isn'’ one then I’m not going to bother trying to find it!]

Sometimes the news is just too good for the DWP.

Hazel’s comment:
What bothers me more about this than the obvious political implications is the fact that a policy review paper has been published in the DWP’s statistics series without a reference number and with no ISBN.
The librarian in me is a very unhappy bunny.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

From harvesting ukelele strings to Peter Rabbit via a 1905 picture of Detroit - and seven other items!

Toy stories: Peter Rabbit and friends
via The National Archives blog by Julie Halls
Peter Rabbit has been in the headlines in the past few weeks with the publication of Emma Thompson’s book The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit and an exhibition in Glasgow marking his 110th anniversary. His exploits in the great outdoors are well-known, but the notorious carrot thief and scourge of Mr McGregor’s garden, who finds himself in Scotland in his new adventure, also has a more sedate existence among the shelves at The National Archives.
Continue reading [and see some stunning photographs].

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
What about Katie Roiphe so annoys people? There’s her contrarianism, her controversialism, her solipsism. But give her this: She’s not boring... more

Buffalo: 1905
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Buffalo: 1905
Buffalo, New York, circa 1905
“Looking up Main Street. Steamer North Land at Long Wharf”
8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co.
View original post

Podcast: Philip Henslowe, Edward Alleyn and the invention of London theatre in the age of Shakespeare
via Peter Scott’s Library Blog
The actor Edward Alleyn and his father-in-law Philip Henslowe built and expanded several London public playhouses, including the Rose, the Fortune, and the Hope.
Named by King James VI and I as Joint “Masters of the Royal Game of Bears, Bulls and Mastiff Dogs”, Henslowe and Alleyn also staged such blood sports as bull- and bear- and lion-baiting at the Bear Garden and other venues, including royal palaces. They also commissioned plays and ran acting companies. Most of what modern scholars know about the early modern English theatre, both as financial enterprise and artistic endeavour, comes from the study of the Henslowe and Alleyn manuscripts at Dulwich College.
This podcast looks at documents from the archive, now digitised at, to demonstrate how the two men helped to invent “Shakespearean” theatre.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Parody gets bad press. It’s mistaken for pastiche; F.R. Leavis thought it “demeaned” those lampooned. But at its best, parody is literary criticism... more

What every camel wants: that fresh-from-the salon look
via The National - News

If Sarab the camel looks particularly relaxed and content, there is a reason for that. After a skin cleanse and shampoo with a pine-scented grooming product designed especially for you, what camel wouldn’t feel pampered?
Continue reading

Crowdfunding a 10-year-old’s cup design for her grandad, who’s got Parkinson’s; and her dad, who is a klutz
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

Lily is a ten year old girl who’s into pottery. Her grandpa has Parkinson’s disease and is prone to spilling his coffee due to his tremors, and so she invented the “Kangaroo Cup”, a stackable, reusable cup that is hard to knock over or spill from (she modified it for her dad’s use, so that he wouldn't spill coffee in his keyboard any more, too). It’s got a inward-curving lip to make it less spill-prone when you carry it, and its legs make it super-stable (you also don’t need a coaster for it).
Lily’s dad is a product designer who’s brought other products to market successfully, so he and his daughter are raising funds on IndieGoGo for bulk manufacture (in JingDeZhen, China) and sale.
Continue reading

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Economics is a discipline in denial, says Howard Davies. Flawed models remain in fashion; economists no longer even try to explain the world as it is... more

Stone tools with plastic handles
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

Israeli designers Ami Drach and Dov Ganchrow presented their modern stone and flint tools at the Budapest Design Week. The pair combined hand-chipped blades and axes with modern high-impact plastic handles, to make tools that are beautiful and functional. I’d love to have one of those knives around the office. Designboom has more pics, and commentary:
Continue reading

Autumn: Spaghetti-harvest time
via Boing Boing by Xeni Jardin

Some astute commenters in the Ukelele String Harvest video thread pointed out that this recent video is basically a re-creation/riff on this earlier, classic weird video, from a 1957 BBC show called Panorama. From the Alexandra Palace Television Society [link does not go to the story as published on Boing Boing]here’s the whole story:

Saturday, 24 November 2012

And your starter for Saturday is ...

Oldest recorded message in a bottle
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
Dropped into the Atlantic Ocean’s North Sea on June 10, 1914, this is the oldest message in a bottle ever found. A fellow plucked it from the sea last year. The bottle was part of a study of ocean currents conducted by the Glasgow School of Navigation nearly a century ago.
Continue reading here

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
“I had suicidal thoughts,” says Clive James. “They all promptly vanished the moment I was under real threat. There was a sudden urge to live”... more

London by George Reid, c.1920-1933
via Retronaut by Chris
Almost impossible to choose just one of these splendid pictures
  1. Benbow Wharf, Bankside
  2. Billingsgate Fish Market jetty looking north towards Tower Bridge
  3. Blackfriars Bridge and Bankside from the north bank of the Thames
  4. Buckingham Palace at night
  5. Charing Cross Road
  6. Children beneath Southwark Bridge
  7. Covent Garden Underground Station from Long Acre
  8. Crowds outside 'The Newspaper House', Fleet Street
  9. Crowds outside 'The Newspaper House', Fleet Street NOT – wrongly captioned, probably barges on the river
  10. Entrance to Blackfriars Station, Queen Victoria Street
  11. Forecourt of Victoria Station
  12. Fresh Wharf from London Bridge
  13. Greenmoor Wharf rubbish depot, Bankside
  14. Greenmoor Wharf rubbish depot, Bankside NOT - more barges
  15. Houses of Parliament from Lambeth Pier
  16. Lambeth from Horseferry Stairs
  17. London Pavillion Theatre and Coventry Street from Piccadilly Circus
  18. Looking southwest from Lower Custom House Stairs
  19. Monument Street near Billingsgate Market
  20. Multi-storey horse stables near Southwark Bridge
  21. St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden
  22. Strand
  23. Strand
  24. Sunrise over the Upper Pool and Hay’s Wharf
  25. Sunset over the Upper Pool from Tower Bridge
  26. The Thames towards Waterloo Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral
  27. Trafalgar Square from the steps of St Martin’s-in-the-Fields
  28. Trafalgar Square looking south
  29. Visitors on the steps of the Tate Gallery
  30. Whitehall
  31. Whitehall from Parliament Square
  32. Bow Lane
  33. Cargo ship Baltabor at Hay’s Wharf looking towards Brewer’s Quay
  34. Daily Telegraph building, Fleet Street
  35. Fleet Street
  36. Houses of Parliament from County Hall
  37. Gateway of St Bartholomew-the-Great Church, Smithfield
  38. J Lyons Corner House on Strand and Craven Street
  39. King William IV Street and Charing Cross Hospital from Strand
  40. Ludgate Hill
  41. London Hippodrome, Cranbourn Street
  42. Middle Temple Lane
  43. Market porters in Drury Lane, Covent Garden
  44. Mill Bank and the National Gallery from the Vauxhall foreshore
  45. Mill Bank and the National Gallery from the Vauxhall foreshore duplicate photograph
  46. St Paul’s Cathedral from Ludgate Hill
  47. Sailing barge at Greenmoor Wharf rubbish depot, Bankside
  48. Water trough near St Clement Danes church, Aldwych
Source: Museum of London
See them all here
My final decision

largely because I managed to find a modern image that is almost identical

but also because it is one of my favourite church buildings in London.
See also:

The Sentinels: 1900
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
The Sentinels: 1900
Circa 1900
“Interlocking signal plant, Chicago & Alton Railway”
8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company
View original post

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Can a butterfly build a better TV? Indeed so. And a camel's nose can irrigate a greenhouse. The answer to many of life's problems has already been crafted by natural selection... more

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
This is M51, the “Whirlpool Galaxy”. The image is by Martin Pugh who won the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012.
This is one of the most beautiful images I have ever seen.

Small fish makes undersea “crop circles”
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder
This pretty pattern was created by a small, amorous pufferfish.
Underwater cameras showed that the artist was a small puffer fish who, using only his flapping fin, tirelessly worked day and night to carve the circular ridges. The unlikely artist – best known in Japan as a delicacy, albeit a potentially poisonous one – even takes small shells, cracks them, and lines the inner grooves of his sculpture as if decorating his piece. Further observation revealed that this “mysterious circle” was not just there to make the ocean floor look pretty. Attracted by the grooves and ridges, female puffer fish would find their way along the dark seabed to the male puffer fish where they would mate and lay eggs in the center of the circle. In fact, the scientists observed that the more ridges the circle contained, the more likely it was that the female would mate with the male. The little sea shells weren’t just in vain either. The observers believe that they serve as vital nutrients to the eggs as they hatch, and to the newborns.
The Deep Sea Mystery Circle – a love story

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Behind every Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, or Solzhenitsyn was an overworked, under-appreciated wife. Do they deserve pity? No, they deserve more credit... more

Guns that are also other weapons
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

On the Propadeucist, “objects that are guns – and are also other weapons”, including a gun that is also several other guns.
(via Richard Kadrey)

Glaucus atlanticus: For once, the Internet is not lying to you
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

This is actually a real life animal. I know. I didn't believe it either. When it turned up in my Facebook feed, via my Aunt Beth, I assumed that this had to be a hoax photo. Had to be. I mean, just look at it. This animal looks like it should appear in pretty photos forwarded to you by your aunt that later turn out to be the result of a photoshopping contest on Something Awful, right?
But then it was on Wikipedia, too. And I thought, “Okay, it’s still the Internet. Somebody is clearly just getting really elaborate in their trolling.”
And I suppose that’s true. If by “somebody”, what I mean to say is “natural selection”.
This is the Glaucus atlanticus. It is a type of nudibranch – shell-less mollusks known for their extravagant shapes and colours. It is venomous. And I am now almost completely convinced that it’s not a joke.
Continue reading fascinating stuff about absorbing the stings from jellyfish which allows these creatures to sting!

European research, social innovation and successful cooperativist actions

an article by Ramón Flecha (University of Barcelona, Spain) published in International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences volume 4 Issue 4 (2012)


The aim of this paper is to focus on one innovative way through which the European research is contributing to provide scientific evidence about actions that have been demonstrated to successfully reverse the closed cycle of inequality in which many citizens get caught.
The Communicative Methodology (CM) was applied, combining quantitative and qualitative methods and including the voices of all social agents involved.
Through the successful actions approach, the INCLUD-ED project has identified five Successful Cooperativist Actions (SCAs) which have been proven to work in the current economy. Aiming at studying the transferability of the SCAs, the project has analysed how these actions are developed in the case of the Mondragon Corporation and La Estrella and La Milagrosa neighbourhoods of Albacete, the poorest neighbourhoods in Spain.
Practical implications
The CM promotes the inclusion of the social groups that are researched achieving results of high value for society. This article contributes with SCAs to economy and society, providing venues to overcoming social and economic exclusion.
Focusing on the role of the economic sector in tackling the different levels of inequalities from a multidisciplinary perspective, this paper addresses the diverse needs of the general public, scientists, as well as politicians. The implementation of SCAs has been demonstrated to improve different contexts contributing to the inclusive and sustainable growth.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Another ten weird and wonderful items to start off your weekend

The best of the best
via Prospero by L.F.
A new exhibition at the Carnegie Museum collects more than 200 objects made for world’s fairs ranging from London’s Great Exhibition in 1851 to New York World’s Fair in 1939. Beauty and craftsmanship can be seen in the furniture, metalwork, glassware, ceramics, textiles and jewellery on show.
At today’s expos, each country hosts elaborate pavilions which focus on nation branding and cultural exchange. But the fairs of yesteryear were an international showcase for industrialisation, innovative design and advancements in modern living. These objects are the shining stars of times past.
Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851-1939 is at the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, until February 14th.
And in lieu of being able to go to Pittsburgh between now and 14th February you can enjoy images of some of the exhibits online here.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The Economist, Michael Lewis once said, “is written by young people pretending to be old people”. That voice – slightly creaky, sophisticated, at times offbeat - is now that of the new global elite... more

In Search Of… Glenn Miller
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
On December 15, 1944, big band pioneer Glenn Miller was flying from the UK to Paris to perform for soldiers. His plane reportedly vanished over the English Channel without a trace. There are many theories about what became of Glenn Miller. Some suggest that his plane was destroyed by RAF bombs jettisoned by war-planes short on fuel that were flying above Miller’s single-engine plane. Another theory posits that Miller made it to Paris but died from a heart attack while having sex with a prostitute, leading the US government to let his death remain a mystery. Intrigued?

For starters, check out the video above, a great episode of one of my favourite TV series.
On March 7, 1980, Leonard Nimoy and team went “In Search Of… Glenn Miller”

10 Cave Homes We’d Like to Live In
via Flavorwire by Alison Nastasi
Four teenagers stumbled upon an incredible collection of prehistoric cave paintings in 1940. While historians, conservationists, and archaeologists discuss the importance of the 17,000-year-old Lascaux [in French] caves this week [of 11 September 2012], we felt inspired by the underground complex to explore homes that have been tucked away in caves across the world. Eco-friendly, earth homes have become increasingly popular, so it should come as no surprise that home owners are writing their own page in a Tolkien tale by setting up camp in these natural shelters. The green benefits are a big draw, but several modern cave people are proving that the alternative dwellings don’t have to sacrifice style and comfort.
Check out a few amazing cave homes we'd totally live in.
Feel free to share your favourites in the comments.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Tom Stoppard is a connoisseur of stories, not topics. A play is not the product of an idea, he says. “The idea is the end product of the play”... more

Lovely Stained Glass-Style Illustrations for Lord of the Rings
via Flavorwire by Emily Temple
Traditionally, stained glass windows are meant to immortalise great deeds and heroic acts, not to mention give life to magic and mysticism. So obviously, if you’re geeky like us, they strike you as the perfect medium to depict the grand events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Jian Guo’s stained glass window-style illustrations, which we spotted over at i09, give Tolkien’s tale its due, depicting five scenes from the series in such lovely colors and intricate patterns that it almost feels like we can already see the light coming through them. Now if only someone would turn these into real windows!
Check out Guo’s illustrations after the jump (original post), and check out more of his artwork here.

Rest in Gildor’s Forest
Image credit: Jian Guo

Jim, Joe and Harry: 1900
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Jim, Joe and Harry: 1900
Memphis, Tennessee, circa 1900
“Mississippi River levee from the custom house. Steamboats James Lee, Harry Lee and City St. Joseph”
8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company
View original post

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
What’s a national writer to do in a global literary marketplace? Keep telling tales from the margins, says Irvine Welsh. Express your culture, “however movable a feast that is”... more

Dynamite Train
via How-To Geek by Asian Angel
This game involves an “explosive” combination of trains, bridges, and dynamite! Your mission is to stop these trains from crossing the various bridges using ingenuity and a limited supply of explosives. Can you destroy all the bridge designs and building materials you encounter or will your carefully thought-out plans of destruction fail?
Asian Angel’s walk-through is here but if you think you can blow up bridges without any help then you can go straight into the game here.

20 Famous Authors’ Adorable School Photos
via Flavorwire by Emily Temple
It’s back to school season, which means new books, new classes and yes, new photos, yearbook and otherwise. But don’t worry – your favourite authors had to go through it too. To celebrate the new season of scholarship, we’ve collected a few pictures of some of our favourite authors’ school photos, ranging from proud snapshots of the first day of kindergarten to writers-to-be goofing off behind a desk to posed high school graduation photos.
Check out our collection, find out which author was voted class clown, and ruminate on what your own education might lead to.
I felt that 20 was too many to list but as an example of the formal style here is:

Angela Carter (middle row, third from the left) and her classmates in high school
Image c. Streatham and Clapham High School via the Guardian