Jo Burgess



2018 MA Social Research (University of Leeds)

2009 MA Human Resource Management (University of Leeds)

2004 PGCE (PCET) (University of Huddersfield)

2003 BA (Hons.) English-Russian Civilization (University of Leeds)


Fourteen years professional experience in the further education sector as a teacher and manager.

Thesis Title

Gender and choice: exploring the axiom of disadvantage in vocational education.


Professor Jennifer Tomlinson, Professor Irena Grugulis, Dr Kate Hardy

Thesis summary/synopsis

The research aims to explore the persistence of high levels of gender segregation in vocational education and training and understand the impact of this in relation to broader issues in the labour market for example, occupational gender segregation and the resultant gender pay gap as well as structural inequalities which maintain gender segregation. The research is designed to understand the perspective of young people in making career choices and examine their experiences in education. A key line of enquiry is to determine the extraneous factors which influence young womens choices such as class, economic background or individual preference. It is also critical to understand the experience of young people who choose atypical routes. Through examining the experiences of young people as minority gender groups in VET the research aims to clarify the impact of masculinity and femininity in shaping attitudes and values. It is a particularly appropriate time to explore the experiences of young people in relation to career choice and vocational education as they are in the unprecedented position of starting careers at a time of political and economic change which may have significant implications for skills in the labour market.

The research will aim to address the following questions: 

- What factors shape young people’s career decisions in VET?

- To what extent does context impact upon the experiences and choices of young people in VET?

- What are the challenges for young people who make gender atypical career choices? 

Scholarship funded by the ESRC

Research interests

Gender and employment, occupational gender segregation, social and educational disadvantage, vocational education and training, further education policy and practice


  • MA Social Research (University of Leeds)
  • MA Human Resource Management (University of Leeds)
  • PGCE (PCET) (University of Huddersfield)
  • BA (Hons.) English-Russian Civilization (University of Leeds)

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change