Participation of migrant youth in the Netherlands: Education and labour market perspectives
Non-western migrant youngsters have a disadvantaged position in Dutch society. In comparison with native youth, they attain lower levels of education, drop out before graduation twice as often, and their unemployment figures are twice as high. Young migrant dropouts and unemployed youth are portrayed as ‘youth at risk’, not willing or capable to participate in Dutch society. In this light, school dropout and unemployment are seen as a sign of integration failure. My study uses mixed methods to examine the participation of young migrants in education and the labour market, analyzing the roles of discrimination, social networks, gender and social policy, and putting the experiences of young migrants themselves at the centre of the analysis. I find that migrant youngsters have high levels of school satisfaction and ambitions for upward mobility. They all expect to finish higher education and to have a successful career. Girls are more optimistic than boys. Migrant youngsters are however hindered by experiences with discrimination, a lack of a valuable social network and traditional cultural values. Migrant youngsters show a lot of resilience and do not perceive these hindrances as real obstacles.
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