Exploring youths' perceptions of the hidden practice of youth work in increasing social capital with young people considered NEET in Scotland

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This small-scale research explores the generation of social capital in young people growing up in one urban area and one rural area in Scotland via community-led youth work projects that aim to re-engage young people categorised as NEET (Not in Employment Education or Training). By looking at their varied and complex biographies, it considers young people's experiences and perceptions of their communities and their transitions from education to the workplace. Using social capital as a theoretical lens, we examined the impact that youth work can have not just on these important transitions but also upon the young people themselves. By visiting two different sites of engagement we were able to explore whether the type of initiative (media or sports) or place (urban or rural) had an impact on the generation of capital for young people. The youth work practice in both areas acted as a glue between the young people and their communities, creating opportunities where the two could be bound together and relationships created. This occurred in both sites regardless of the area or type of initiative and confirmed in this study that youth work acts as a site of capital building.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-484
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2015


  • social capital
  • young people
  • transitions
  • youth work
  • biographies

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