‘One student might get one opportunity and then the next student won’t get anything like that’: Inequities in Australian career education and recommendations for a fairer future

Publication Name

Australian Educational Researcher


Access to quality career advice is important for economic, personal and equity reasons, yet, in many countries around the world, career-education provision is of varying quality and quantity within school settings. Given the inconsistencies in career-education resourcing and provision, what is not clearly understood is how students from low socioeconomic status (low SES) backgrounds experience career-education provision and the extent to which it shapes their post-school futures. Drawing on Australian research, this paper explores the career-education experiences of high-school students from low SES backgrounds. Bourdieu’s tools of field, habitus and capital are used as a theoretical framework to understand how career education can influence students’ imagining and achieving their career goals. The findings reported in this paper contribute nuanced understandings of career education to students from low SES backgrounds and recommends how all students can benefit from an embedded approach to career education in schools.

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