Theorising and preparing students for precarity: how can leaders and educators better prepare students to enter an increasingly insecure workforce?

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Workforce insecurity has significant implications for the role of school leaders and teachers preparing students for changing worlds of work. For educators to better prepare students to enter an increasingly casualised labour workforce, there first needs to be an acknowledgement of how students perceive themselves in relation to post-school life. Drawing on a study of approximately 2500 secondary school students in the Australian state of Victoria, the figure of homo promptus is presented as a figure of youth to understand the real and imagined characteristics of students as workers-in-the-making. Homo promptus is entrepreneurial and strategic, yet on ‘standby’ as short-termism problematises future planning. This figure is overlaid onto students’ perceptions of their own career identity relative to post-school aspirations and transitions. The emergence of homo promptus and the broader labour and education landscapes from which this conceptualisation has been developed have implications for school leaders, teachers and school-based careers advisors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-19
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Educational Administration and History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • career identity
  • careers education
  • Homo promptus
  • precarity
  • secondary students

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