Vocational Training and Transitions into the Labor Market – Educational stage 6 of the National Educational Panel Study in Germany/NEPS
(Coordination of the Consortium: University of Bamberg)
In terms of individual skill formation as well as access and returns to vocational education and training urgent questions to be answered for advanced societies in general and Germany as well are:
a) With regard to individual’s skill acquisition: How will it be possible to promote individual educational growth and motivation given the economic need of well-skilled citizens in knowledge-based societies and the social need in the realm of social participation and inclusion in modern civil societies? Connected to this, how are qualifications, competencies, and skills transmitted, lost, and preserved over the educational and employment career? What is the distinct contribution of different learning settings to individual’s skill acquisition and, thus, how can the distinctiveness of learning and instructional settings—from schools to firms to communities—be combined to provide relevant opportunities to learn and develop skills needed for life and work?
b) With regard to returns to VET in the transition into the labour market: How useful is it to train for specific occupations if occupations are not for life? Do educational and vocational credentials just open “access” to more demanding and more rewarding jobs, or are they actually conditional for performance at the job? How important are basic competencies (in mathematics, reading literacy, foreign languages, sciences) and cross-occupational competencies (like social competencies, IT-skills, learning strategies) in comparison to certified skills for access to and performance at the jobs? How meritocratic is the German VET system in terms of equality in educational opportunities and entry into the labour market?
For some of these questions we have preliminary answers, for some of them, however, we still lack data bases to give evidence-based answers to them. With a nationwide educational panel study, it will be possible to address these questions and to provide new insights in school-to-work transitions and competence development in young adulthood.