Young People on Overseas Work Stints (YPOWS) : Temporary Work and Mobile Ethic in Asian Cities

Work experience has become a critical component to education and learning, especially in the wake of global economic restructuring and its renewed emphasis on transferable, workforce relevant skills and knowledge (Guile & Griffiths, 2001; Urciuoli, 2008). In the context of a globalising economy and labour market, both the nature of contemporary workplaces and working practices as well as the ‘race’ for skilled workers are now entangled in global-scale interrelationships (Jones, 2008; Ziguras & Law, 2006). Within these shifting dynamics, a range of practices such as overseas internships, placements, and working holidays are becoming widespread in different parts of the world, including Asian cities (Gibson & Busby, 2009; van’t Klooster et al., 2008; Yoon, 2014). These newer forms of practices that cut across education, training and work, which are targeted at the consumption of overseas work experience, typically involves short-term temporary mobilities not exceeding the duration of a year – otherwise known as Overseas Work Stints (OWS).

What happens when the rise of temporary work coincides with mobility projects? How do we theorise the increasing emphasis on youth participation in overseas work stints by the state, educational institutions, private enterprises, and young people themselves? How can a deeper understanding of YPOWS inform us about contemporary changes to education, training and work nexus?

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