The paper discusses students' process of acquiring a feeling of being professionals within a vocational education programme for elderly care in Denmark. The focus is on what seems to be a paradox within the programme: the future care helper being constructed within the overall term ‘the professional care helper’ in the school setting but the job being closely related to daily life's routine tasks; the paper points to difficulties for students in identifying the exact content of the term ‘professional’. Furthermore students seem to be uncertain about their ‘professionalism’ in relation to other health professionals, when they are in the work place setting. The analysis indicates that the care work programme still struggles to make a clear distinction between the former non-paid female domestic work and the current work carried out by the care workers. The analysis mobilises the concept ‘storyline’, c.f. Bronwyn Davies and the empirical material consists of observations and interviews in the theoretical periods and in the traineeships.
Elderly Care; Vocational Training; Professional identity