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Youth Mobility and Access to Economic Opportunities

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  • Full or part time
    Prof K Lucas
    Mr D Johnson
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description


Youth unemployment is seen as one of the most pressing socio-economic problems confronting the European Union and its member states (EU, 2012). Since the 2008 worldwide economic recession, youth unemployment rates across Europe have taken a strong upward trend - consistently higher than the unemployment rate of the whole population - reflecting the difficulties faced by young people in finding jobs. This project will build on a body of work in the UK and Europe dealing with the issue of transport-related social exclusion. Subsequently, numerous studies have focused on various ways to identify and measure transport-related social exclusion (see Lucas 2012 for a n overview), but very few have focused specifically on young people and almost none on their access to economic opportunities and the role of transport services.


The need for transport has become of increasing importance over recent decades, as much low-skilled employment such as manufacturing, warehousing and logistics was created on industrial plots in suburbs and near highways, which are often inadequately served by public transport. Low-skilled jobs often also require evening and weekend work, when public transport services are poorer. As such, young people in the UK, particularly those not in work, education or training (NEETS), often struggle to access employment, training and educational opportunities

In 2003, the Social Exclusion Unit formally identified problems with transport provision as a barrier to work and a contributing factor in the social exclusion of job seekers. It prevented people to attend interviews, limited the range of jobs they could apply for, and even forced them to turn down job offers. Of all young unemployed included in the survey, a quarter had indicated not to have applied for a job because of transport problems.


The research will use a range of qualitative and quantitative methods, including inclusive methods with young people and key transport stakeholders, GIS analysis and socially disaggregated modelling of young people’s travel behaviours and attitudes to employment opportunities. Applicants should have a suitable Master’s degree in a related topic and prior evidence of working with complex spatial datasets using GIS.

Please visit our LARS scholarship page for more information and further opportunities:


European Commission (2012). EU Youth Report. Belgium: European Union

Lucas, K. (2012). Transport and social exclusion: where are we now? Transport Policy 20: 105-113

Social Exclusion Unit (2003). Making the Connections: Final Report on transport and Social Exclusion: London

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