Navigating the occupational transition of dropping out of school: Anchoring occupations and champions as facilitators

Liesl Peters, Roshan Galvaan, Harsha Kathard


This paper presents findings from a biographical inquiry into the occupational engagement of men in a low socio-economic South African community who dropped out of school. The aim of the study was to describe the nature of these men’s occupational engagement and to gain insight into their occupational trajectories as they negotiated the occupational transition of dropping out of school. Three men were purposively selected and narrative data was generated. A narrative analysis, followed with an analysis of narratives was completed. The findings showed that two participants established stable occupational trajectories after dropping out. The interpretations made suggested that a successful occupational transition for these participants was related to the establishment of ‘anchoring occupations’ as a result of chance encounters with individuals who acted as 'champions'. These champions ensured the successful negotiation of available opportunities. It is recommended that occupational therapists consider how they might promote access to champions of opportunities that lead to the development of anchoring occupations for vulnerable clients in the context of life transitions during early and middle adulthood. 

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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