Numerous research on the development of knowledge and skills within health and social care has been undertaken; however, it can be argued that there is a need to understand the connection between inclusion and the development in knowledge and experience. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore students’ experiences of the health and social care adult- education program, and participation and learning processes it represents. The program is considered the formal route to acquire a position as a nursing assistant or health care assistant. Furthermore, the program can be seen as a combination of vocational training, and a measure to reduce unemployment.
This empirical study is based on 15 in- depth interviews with students in the health and social care adult-education. These interviews are using a hermeneutic interpretation method, and draw on Lave and Wenger`s theory of learning. In addition to sociocultural theory according to Säljö.
Findings indicate that the adult-education program in health and social care is not only a training process, but also a participation process. For the students, it is about gaining participation in the professional community, in Swedish society, and also about an existential safety in a social context. In order to gain participation, intellectual and physical artifacts, as well as personal qualities, are a prerequisite. Despite these requirements, and the challenges students face, the findings reveal that most students continue their studies. This finding leads to the idea that health and social care can be understood a discipline of inclusion.
These findings assist the health and social care field in understanding the connection between said artifacts for inclusion in working life and society; in addition, that such programs should be understood from a wider perspective and viewed in relation to the tension between three educational projects: the students` individual project, the program organizer’s project and the national, societal education project.