Whiteman, Geena

Start date:
October 2020
Research Topic:
A Human Capital Approach to School to Entrepreneurship Transitions in Post-Conflict and Post-Socialist Europe: Case Study of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr Dean Stroud, Dr Phillip Brown
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Human capital development is widely accepted as a fundamental requirement for a country’s sustainable economic growth, and a key aspect of youth livelihoods development, under the assumption that labour can be treated as a commodity to enhance both an individual’s and a country’s economic productivity. Improving the education of a country’s workforce is a long-term investment leading to economic returns for both the individual and the country and has been recognised for decades as a fundamental tool for a country’s economic development and growth. However, there is limited attention on the end of the educational process, and the beginning of a young person’s labour market participation otherwise referred to as the school-to-work-transition. This transition from school to employment is an important indicator of both the strength of the education system and the macroeconomic conditions of the countries labour market that absorbs them. The success of a young person’s labour market transition is dependent on both the resources they hold and the opportunity to convert those skills into a sustainable livelihood.

This project aims to explore the school-to-entrepreneurship transition process within the socio-political context of the post-conflict and post-socialist nexus, engaging the perspectives of different stakeholders within this process. It will explore the current socio-political landscape of both countries within the context of the labour market, highlighting young people’s aspirations and intentions for their own labour market transition and identify barriers and constraints to these aspirations. This research may contribute to policymaking within the field of youth employability and entrepreneurship, whilst also promoting young people’s voices and perspectives in shaping future labour market policy and initiatives


This will be a mixed-methods research project, consisting of a large-scale youth survey, interviews and focus groups. Key subjects for interviews and focus groups will be young people, high school teachers, NGO workers, and public sector workers within the domain of youth employability.

Four cities have been provisionally selected as case sites: Sarajevo, Brcko, Prishtina and Mitrovica.