BP:
 

BIBB REPORT Edition 11/09

An improvement in the individuals chances of undergoing vocational training or a pointless holding pattern?

The importance and effectiveness of training programmes for the transition from general schooling to vocational training

Ursula Beicht

The German vocational training system has seen the difficulties involved in making the transition from general schooling to vocational training increase dramatically in the last 15 years. Today, many school leavers - particularly those who have completed lower secondary school at the most - initially end up in a training programme that provides only basic vocational education. There has been little information to date about how large the share of youths is who attend one or more such transition measures before they start vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification or about the total amount of time youths spend in such measures. There is particularly a lack of information about the effectiveness of these programmes: How many youths use these programmes to earn a school leaving certificate or a higher-level certificate than the one they already hold? Where do these youths land after completing a transition measure? Do they start vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification and how long does it take until they start this training? The following report examines these questions using data from the Transition Study conducted by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB).

The transition system - Developments and assessment

In the years since the early 1990s, the route that individuals take to become part of the labour market in Germany has become less and less that of the traditional 'normal path' consisting of general schooling followed by vocational training and then employment (see Dietrich/Dressel/Janik 2009). Today, a large portion of youths who have finished their general schooling first attends courses which offer basic vocational training but do not lead to full vocational qualification (see Kroll 2009): Thus the number of youths who take part in a vocational preparation course (berufsvorbereitende Bildungsmaßnahme) sponsored by the Federal Employment Agency more than doubled (111%) between 1992 and 2007 (from 70,400 to 148,819). The number of students doing a prevocational training year (Berufsvorbereitungsjahr) increased by 67% (from 37,156 to 62,077). The number of students completing a basic vocational training year (Berufsgrundbildungsjahr) grew by 47% (from 31,325 to 46,031) and the number of students completing their first year at a full-time vocational school (Berufsfachschule) that provides basic vocational training increased by 72% (from 110,252 to 189,892). In 2007, a total of 37,233 new entrants enrolled in introductory in-company training (Einstiegsqualifizierung) which was first introduced in 2004. Thus the number of first-year participants in training programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification (see the following definitions) totalled 484,052 in 2007.1 A total of 807,756 new entrants in in-company, extra-company (external) and school-based vocational training programmes that lead to full vocational qualification were reported for the same year (see Kroll 2009).

In light of the substantial quantitative importance of training programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification, the 2006 National Education Report went from dividing vocational training below university level into two subsystems to dividing it into three subsystems. The report now designates the vocational transition system as the third subsystem, alongside the 'dual' vocational training system (in-company or extra-company vocational training that is provided pursuant to the Vocational Training Act or the Crafts and Trade Code in combination with instruction at a part-time vocational school) and the school-based occupation system (vocational training for an occupation that is recognised under law and is taught at a full-time vocational school). The third subsystem covers training programmes that are "located below the level of vocational training which leads to formal vocational qualification or that do not lead to recognised qualification but rather target improving a youth's individual skills with the aim of starting vocational training or employment and in some cases make it possible for the individual to earn a school leaving examination as a mature student" (Konsortium Bildungsberichterstattung / Educational Reporting Consortium 2006, p. 79). Supplementing this definition, the 2008 National Education Report notes that "This includes training programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification and can be credited toward the first year of subsequent vocational training or that constitute a prerequisite for undergoing vocational training which leads to full vocational qualification" (Autorengruppe Bildungsberichterstattung / Authoring Group Educational Reporting 2008, p. 99).2

Transition system programmes

Vocational preparation courses provided through the Federal Employment Agency
Courses to prepare individuals for vocational training have been implemented on behalf of the Federal Employment Agency since the 1970s (see Dressel/Plicht 2006). Originally, these courses were aimed primarily at slow learners and socially-disadvantaged youths. They seek to teach the basic knowledge and attitudes needed in order to undergo vocational training and are intended to improve these youths' chances of making the transition to vocational training. However for some time now, participants have also included youths who are 'disadvantaged in the training place market': Youths who have not been able to start vocational training solely due to the tight situation on the training place market (see Dietrich 2008). Only persons who are 24 years of age or younger, have finished their compulsory education and have not completed any vocational training may enrol in these measures. The structure of vocational preparation courses was overhauled in early 2004: Prior to this time, the individual types of courses were aimed at specific target groups (BBE courses to improve participants' chances of undergoing vocational training and becoming integrated into the working world targeted individuals who do not have the fundamental knowledge or attitudes necessary for undergoing formal vocational training, G courses for individuals with the necessary knowledge and attitudes, F courses for disabled youths). Since the restructuring undertaken in 2004, there are training levels that span different target groups (basic level: career orientation and choice of occupation; upgrading level: instruction in basic vocational skills; training that prepares the individual for making the transition to a vocational training programme: occupation-specific and company-related training), which all participants can enrol in or transfer to on a flexible basis according to their particular training needs (see the BA-Fachkonzept concept of the Federal Employment Agency). Socio-educational assistance is provided. Preparation for earning a lower secondary school leaving certificate is an option. However youths who have already completed lower or intermediate secondary school presently make up the bulk of participants in these courses (see Antoni et al. 2007). Individuals undergoing transition training are supposed to learn more in-depth skills that correspond to the occupation  they have chosen (which possibly requires completion of formal vocational training) and can be credited towards a subsequent vocational training programme as applicable. Prior to 2004, there were no strict limits on how long assistance would be granted. A limit was placed on the assistance period with the launch of the Federal Employment Agency's new concept: a maximum of ten months (eleven months for disabled youths). Transition measures are very important in both the western and the eastern half of the country.
School-based prevocational training year
Starting in the mid-1970s the prevocational training year was introduced in Germany's federal states. This one-year course of training at vocational schools primarily targeted youths who have no school leaving certificate or who have a school leaving certificate from a special needs school. Prevocational training years are intended to prepare participants for formal vocational training by teaching them occupational orientation and occupation-specific skills and competences in one or more occupational fields. Socio-educational assistance is often provided. In many states, enrolment in a prevocational training year programme satisfies the requirements for compulsory (vocational) school attendance for youths who are not yet 18. The exact objectives, target groups and organisation of the prevocational training year vary greatly from state to state. In some cases even the designation is different (see Buchholz/Straßer 2007, Fertig et al. 2009, Neubauer 2006, Werner/Neumann/Schmidt 2008). Prevocational training year programmes generally involve full-time school. Some states also offer programmes with just part-time schooling. As a rule, participants have the option of sitting a supplementary examination to earn a certificate that is equivalent to a lower secondary school leaving certificate. The prevocational training year is widely offered, particularly in Germany's eastern states, with the exception of Brandenburg where it is not available.
Basic vocational training year
The original idea behind the basic vocational training year - which, like the prevocational training year, was also introduced in the mid-1970s - was to replace the first year of training in a dual vocational training programme with broad basic vocational training that would be provided at a full-time vocational school in one of 13 defined occupational fields. The concept did not however become established primarily because it met with little acceptance among enterprises that provide in-company vocational training ('training companies'). A few states additionally launched a collaborative basic vocational training year (which training companies and vocational schools carried out jointly). This also failed to garner sufficient support among training companies. Today the basic vocational training year fundamentally has the task of absorbing youths - most of whom have completed lower secondary school - who have not been able to find a training place and to provide them a broad basic vocational education and thus improve their chances of making the transition to regular vocational training (see, for example, Galetzka/Stein 2008). Participants can in some cases sit an additional examination during the basic vocational training year programme to earn an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate. In years past, legislation (prior to the amending of the Vocational Training Act in 2005: federal regulations and since then: only state-level regulations) required granting credit for at least part of the basic vocational training year when the individual commenced initial in-company vocational training. Since 1 August 2009 however, this is possible only when the particular trainee and training company submit a joint application for credit (Section 7 (2) of the Federal Vocational Training Act). The use of the basic vocational training year varies greatly from region to region. It is relatively common in Lower Saxony and in North Rhine-Westphalia. By contrast, it is not offered (any longer) in Brandenburg, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia.
Full-time vocational school programmes which lead to partial vocational qualification
Originating in the 19th century, full-time vocational schools have a very long tradition in Germany. These schools offer one-year and two-year full-time programmes in which students can acquire a basic vocational education. These programmes cover a wide spectrum and are aimed at different target groups. The most popular programmes revolve around the economics and business administration field (examples: commercial schools, business colleges). As a rule, a lower secondary school leaving certificate is the minimum requirement for admission to these programmes. However a number of courses require an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate. Many programmes offer the option of earning a higher-level school leaving certificate (intermediate secondary school leaving certificate, qualification entitling the holder to study at a university of applied sciences). For some students, this is their primary reason for attending a full-time vocational school. The way full-time vocational schools are organised varies greatly from state to state (see Schmidt/Walter 2008). In some states (such as Baden-Württemberg), students who graduate from certain full-time vocational school programmes can have it credited toward a dual vocational training programme (see Werner/Neumann/Schmidt 2008). Since 1 August 2009 however, the arrangement provided for in Section 7 (2) of the Vocational Training Act also applies in such cases. Although every state in Germany except Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has full-time vocational schools, their importance varies greatly, depending on the region. This type of training has been most prevalent in Baden-Württemberg. It is also relatively important in Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.
Introductory training for young people
Introduced in 2004 in the wake of the Training Pact, introductory training for young people is the most recent type of measure to be offered by the transition system. These 6-to-12-month pre-training placements in enterprises are aimed at youths who still do not have a training place even after the follow-up placement campaigns at the end of the placement year. Thus the target group for this training largely tallies with the target group for vocational preparation courses: young people who are disadvantaged in the training place market. The knowledge and skills taught during introductory training for young people are aimed at preparing participants for undergoing a training programme to learn an occupation in the dual vocational training system. The respective enterprise pays participants a remuneration of currently up to €212 monthly. The Federal Employment Agency reimburses the enterprise for the remuneration plus the respective social insurance contributions. A comparatively large portion of individuals who complete an introductory training programme for young people make the transition to regular vocational training directly following completion of their programme (see Becker/Grebe/Asmus 2008, Fertig et al. 2009, Kühnlein 2009). Introductory training for young people can be credited toward a subsequent vocational training programme. This option is however seldom used. Introductory training for young people is widely established in all of Germany's states.

There have been numerous discussions and heated debate over the reasons why the transition system has been expanded so much in recent years (see, for example, Baethge/Solga/Wiek 2007, Euler/Severing 2006, Neß 2007, Ulrich 2004, 2008). It is undisputed that on the one hand the main factor behind this expansion was the enormous shortage of training places that arose primarily as a result of the sharp increase in the number of school leavers. This at times went hand-in-hand with a decline in the number of in-company training places being offered and could not be offset by school-based or extra-company training options that lead to full vocational qualification (see Ulrich/Eberhard 2008). Programmes offered by the transition system have assumed the function of providing training on an interim basis to unsuccessful training place applicants until they are able to start regular vocational training. On the other hand, another situation could also play a role here: Namely, the fact that school leavers' qualifications in some cases are no longer enough to meet the increased demands that are placed on them during training. In this connection, enterprises complain that applicants lack the fundamental knowledge and attitudes necessary for successful vocational training (see Ulrich 2008). Responsibility for this is attributed to a number of things, including deficiencies that general schools exhibit "in imparting basic individual prerequisites for admission to qualified vocational training" (Konsortium Bildungsberichterstattung/ Educational Reporting Consortium 2006, p. 81f.). Measures offered through the transition system - particularly vocational preparation courses - are intended to make up for these shortcomings and teach youths the skills and competences they need for vocational training.

As a consequence of these developments, the transition from general schooling to vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification has, for many youths, become much more difficult and, most importantly, drawn out (see Beicht/Friedrich/Ulrich 2007, Beicht/Ulrich 2008a/2008b, Friedrich 2009). In particular, very few school leavers with a lower secondary school leaving certificate or no school leaving certificate at all start regular vocational training directly following completion of their general schooling today (see Reißig/Gaupp/Lex 2008). However many individuals who have completed intermediate secondary school are also unable to start vocational training directly after finishing their schooling. Only about half of them (51%) find themselves within three months in vocational training where they can earn full vocational qualification. This is the case for only two-fifths (40%) of individuals who have completed lower secondary school at the most (see Beicht/Ulrich 2008b). The slight improvement on the training place market seen in 2007 and 2008 did not bring any fundamental change to this situation. For example, 40% of the training place applicants registered with the Federal Employment Agency during the 2007/2008 placement year had already looked for a training place without success in previous years (see Beicht/Eberhard 2009). Of these unplaced applicants from previous years, more than one-quarter (27%) had submitted their first application two years ago. Another quarter (26%) had submitted their first application even longer ago 3 The number of training places being offered for the current 2009/2010 training year is expected to decline by approximately 50,000 places in the wake of the current financial and economic crisis (see Friedrich/Schöngen/Walden 2009). This would mean that the situation on the training place market will not improve any further, even though the number of school leavers is falling due to demographic developments. Instead, the situation would start to deteriorate again, at least in Germany's western states (see Krekel/Ulrich 2009).

The transition system was frequently and harshly criticised in years past because it was apparently unable or only partly able to quickly integrate school leavers into the dual vocational training system or the school-based vocational education system. Examples of this: Baethe/Solga/Wieck (2007) are of the opinion "that approximately half a million youths are absorbed in measures that offer few occupational prospects and a high degree of uncertainty with regard to future employment - with serious consequences for [Germany's] labour market and social structure" (p. 7). The transition system is "less a 'preparation' for a vocational training programme (particularly a vocational training programme in the dual vocational training system) that leads to full vocational qualification and primarily an entering into a phase of uncertainty which is often characterised by 'training measure careers'" (p. 51). According to Münk (2208, p. 44), the transition system's problem is that "a large portion of young people ... continue to wander around in this labyrinth because they obviously cannot be integrated into the Dual System due to their background and qualifications". Euler (2009, p. 1) holds that this leads "to difficult transitions in the course of their training, to longer training duration and a considerable loss of motivation. At societal level, it entails enormous expenditures for education measures which ultimately are not sufficiently productive". In light of this, Zimmer (2009, p. 26) demands that "the 'vocational transition system' should be done away with completely because it only puts youths 'on hold', often leads to training measure careers and ultimately to longer periods of unemployment, tends to hinder the acquisition of full-fledged, qualified occupational skills and too seldom leads to qualified vocational training".

The question of whether and to what extent the criticism of the transition system is justified constitutes the starting point for the following analysis which is based on the BIBB Transition Study. This study involved a representative survey conducted in the summer of 2006 of youths between the ages of 18 and 24 who provided information about their entire educational and occupational biography (see Beicht/Friedrich 2008). Using the data from the BIBB Transition Study, the analysis first looks at the total number of persons enrolled in measures provided through the transition system. This is followed by an examination of the effectiveness of the three most important types of programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification.4 This is preceded by a description of the different groups of participants and then a brief outline of the reasons for their enrolment. The analysis then looks at how often and why participants discontinue a training measure and how those participants who have completed their particular training measure view its benefits. The findings from the analysis of the key criteria for success5 - level of school leaving certificate, amount of time it took to make the transition to vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification, and its determinants, typical patterns exhibited by individuals who participated in a training measure provided through the transition system - are then presented and, lastly, conclusions are drawn from these findings.

Total extent of participation in transition measures

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How many youths pass through the transition system and how long do they stay in the system until they start a vocational training programme that leads to full vocational qualification? This question is not that easy to answer. Figures regarding the number of persons placed in the various programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification do not provide any information in this regard because a relatively large share of individuals participate in several transition measures one after another. In light of this, an analogous calculation was made on the basis of the BIBB Transition Study. This calculation used only those youths who completed intermediate secondary school or less because these individuals constitute the bulk of the persons attending programmes provided through the transition system. School leavers who have completed upper secondary school and earned qualification to enrol in a university in Germany tend to be exceptions. The calculation narrows this group down further to youths who were already at least 20 years old at the time of the survey and were thus at an age when the transition to vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification should be largely finished.

The measures were broken down by type - vocational preparation course/prevocational training year,6 basic vocational training year; full-time vocational school programme which leads to partial vocational qualification; and practical placement or in-company introductory training programme for young people - for the analyses here.7 As a rule, participation in a measure provided through the transition system was taken into account only when it took place after the individual had left a general academic school (in other words, practical placements that took place during the individual's general schooling did not count) and before the individual completed formal vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification (in other words, no practical placements or training measures after completion of one's vocational training). Thus, this study examined only the transition phase from general schooling to vocational training that has led to the individual earning full vocational qualification.

According to this information, slightly less than one-third (32%) of school leavers who had not earned qualification to enter university attended at least one training measure that led to partial vocational qualification during the transition phase between general schooling and regular vocational training (see Chart 1). The most important type of transition measure was the full-time vocational school programme that leads to partial vocational qualification. Such programmes were attended by 14% of the individuals who had completed intermediate secondary school at most. Ten per cent completed a practical placement or an introductory training programme for young people and 9% enrolled in a vocational preparation course or prevocational training year. At 6%, the basic vocational training year was the least-frequently used transition measure.8

A relatively large number of youths complete two or more programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification. The average totalled 1.3 measures per participant. Participants remain an average of nearly 17 months in the transition system. Full-time vocational school programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification account for nearly half of this time, vocational preparation courses and prevocational training years for nearly one-fifth (19%). Practical placements and introductory training programmes for young people account for an average of 17% of this time and the basic vocational training year 15%.

A look at a breakdown by level of education reveals marked differences: Individuals who have completed lower secondary school at most represent more than two-fifths (42%) of the school leavers who first attend a programme that leads to partial vocational qualification. By contrast, individuals who have completed intermediate secondary school represent less than one-quarter (23%) of this group. Individuals who enter the transition system remain there for nearly the same amount of time - an average of 18 months for persons who have completed lower secondary school at most and 14 months for persons who have completed intermediate secondary school. The average number of measures per participant - 1.4 (holders of a lower secondary school leaving certificate or less) and 1.3 (holders of an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate) - is also nearly the same.

These findings show that the transition system has become quite important - both in terms of the number of participants and with regard to the length of time spent in the system - particularly for youths who have completed lower secondary school at most.9

Effectiveness of the individual types of programmes provided through the transition system

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The following analysis deals primarily with criteria for success. It concentrates on vocational preparation courses/ the prevocational training year, the basic vocational training year and full-time vocational school programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification. Practical placements and introductory training programmes for young people are not included in this analysis because, firstly, their content and the ways it is taught are much less formalised and, secondly, the duration of such measures varies greatly. As a consequence they cannot really be compared with one another or with other types of measures. First-time participation in a training programme offered through the transition system constitutes the starting point for this analysis. Other transition measures are taken into consideration only when examining participant destinations. The analysis covers youths who completed intermediate secondary school at most and who were 18 to 24 years of age at the time of the survey.

Which youths end up enrolled in a transition measure?
The group consisting of participants who are not qualified to enter university and are enrolled in one of the three types of measures provided through the transition system will first be the subject of a closer examination. A breakdown of these youths based on important attributes is shown in Chart 2. For comparison purposes, Chart 2 also shows a breakdown of youths who are not qualified to enter university and who have succeeded in starting regular vocational training without first having attended a programme that is provided through the transition system and leads to partial vocational qualification. Chart 3 shows whether there are any statistically significant correlations between the youths' attributes and their ending up in the respective type of programme, and also indicates the direction of these correlations. The findings from these two charts can be summarised as follows:

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Youths with the most unfavourable scholastic background are to be found in a vocational preparation course or prevocational training year. In addition to frequently not having earned a school leaving certificate, these individuals also have the worst marks in their school leaving certificate. As Table 3 shows, the average mark correlates significantly and most positively with participation in a vocational preparation course or prevocational training year (tau = 0.140; 00 = 0.001). Most of the youths in this group come from less-educated families with a low socio-economic status. In other words, their parents frequently have not earned a school leaving certificate or formal vocational qualification and their fathers generally do not hold a skilled job. Although the share of young men in a vocational preparation course or prevocational training year is markedly larger than the share of young women, it is not disproportionately large when compared to the other types of programmes. The number of youths with an immigrant background is relatively large. Many youths looked for a training place for in-company vocational training - or any type of regular vocational training - after ending their schooling. Some of them however did not try to find a training place right away - in many cases probably because they felt they had little chance of success.

The educational and family background of youths who did a basic vocational training year was considerably more favourable than it was for youths who participated in a vocational preparation course or prevocational training year. A large majority of this group (youths who did a basic vocational training year) had completed intermediate secondary school and earned better marks at school. In many cases, their parents had completed their secondary schooling and earned vocational qualification. Their fathers usually had a skilled job. Only small numbers of young women do a basic vocational training year. Many youths who were doing a basic vocational training year had tried upon completing their schooling to find an in-company training place or other form of vocational training that would fully qualify them in a recognised occupation.

Youths attending a full-time vocational school programme which leads to partial vocational qualification have an even better educational background. A relatively large number of them had completed intermediate secondary school and earned quite good marks. Their family background however was not very different than that of individuals doing a basic vocational training year. In contrast to basic vocational training year programmes, young women constitute the majority of participants who participate in a full-time vocational school programme that leads to partial vocational qualification. Larger numbers of youths with an immigrant background choose programmes offered at such schools. By contrast, very few youths from Germany's eastern states attend them. Compared to the other types of programmes, individuals who complete a full-time vocational school programme which leads to partial vocational qualification were less likely to look for a training place for in-company vocational training after leaving secondary school. All in all, they were also less likely to want to immediately start vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification.

A comparison with youths who, without first attending a measure provided through the transition system, ended up in a vocational training programme that leads to full vocational qualification reveals marked differences. These youths were clearly the most successful at school. The fact that they had a more favourable family background could also have played a role here. A much larger portion of these youths had completed intermediate secondary school and earned better marks. These advantages could in turn have had a positive influence on their efforts to find a training place.

It can be said that youths who end up in one of the three types of training programmes provided through the transition system following their general schooling generally have less favourable conditions to offer. This does not however apply to all of these youths; each category has a more or less large share of youths who definitely have sufficient resources for undergoing regular vocational training - at least in as far as this can be assessed on the basis of the attributes examined here. 

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What are the reasons for an individual's participation?
The vast majority of youths who end up first participating in a training programme provided through the transition system initially tried to find an opening in regular vocational training after finishing their general schooling. However, more than half of them reported that their participation in a transition programme was in line with their own wishes (see Chart 4). This finding may seem surprising at first glance. However it should probably be interpreted as meaning that the individual accepted the transition measure he/she has chosen as being the best solution under the given circumstances - namely, that of not having a training place - and when compared to the other alternatives available. Thus more than four-fifths of the youths who participate in a vocational preparation course / prevocational training year and three-fifths of the students in full-time vocational school programmes which lead to partial vocational qualification say that another reason for their decision was that they had not found or did not think they had any other training option. Advice that the Employment Agency provided in this direction played an important role in the decision of approximately half of the youths participating in a vocational preparation course / prevocational training year and about one-quarter of those who did a basic vocational training year.

Youths who first attend one of the said programmes offered through the transition system usually start within three months after they have completed their general schooling (87%). Only 5% start a transition programme for the first time more than a year after they leave school.

How many participants discontinue their programme and why?
Not all youths by far attend their particular measure until the end. Eighteen per cent of those attending a vocational preparation course / doing a prevocational training year drop out. This figure is 12% for basic vocational training years and 22% for full-time vocational school programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification.10  Looking at the number of people who dropped out of their vocational preparation course or prevocational training year, one-fourth (27%) quit during the first three months. However most of the people who dropped out did so after half a year or more (56%). In the case of basic vocational training years, people dropped out less often during the first few months. Three-quarters of the people who dropped out (77%) did so after six months or more. In the case of people who dropped out of full-time vocational school programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification, most of them dropped out at a relatively late point in time: Half of them (51%) between six and twelve months after starting their programme and one-third (34%) after one year.

One reason for dropping out before a transition measure11 has ended which is often cited is that the individual was aiming for a different training option or already had prospects for a different option. This was the case most often among individuals who dropped out of a vocational preparation course / prevocational training year (49%) and somewhat less often for full-time vocational school programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification (40%) and basic vocational training years (30%). The most frequently-cited reason for discontinuing a prevocational training year (57%) or full-time vocational school programme that leads to partial vocational qualification (47%) was that the particular programme did not appeal to the individual or was not the right programme for that person. This reason was also cited relatively frequently by individuals who dropped out of a vocational preparation course / prevocational training year (32%). In some cases, people who dropped out said they felt that the programme was too demanding. This was particularly the case for full-time vocational schools programmes (28%) and the basic vocational training year (25%) and less the case for vocational preparation courses / prevocational training years (11%). Problems with teachers or fellow students also played a role in many cases (vocational preparation course / prevocational training year: 22%; basic vocational training year: 25%; full-time vocational school programme that leads to partial vocational qualification: 24%) as did personal, financial and health problems (vocational preparation course/prevocational training year: 20%; basic vocational training year: 31%; full-time vocational school programme that leads to partial vocational qualification: 23%). Many individuals however also dropped out because they had found a job or had prospects for a job (vocational preparation course / prevocational training year: 27%; basic vocational training year: 7%; full-time vocational school programme that leads to partial vocational qualification: 21%).

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How do participants assess the benefits?
Before we examine the objective criteria for success, we will first outline how the participants themselves judged the benefits of the schemes provided through the transition system. As Chart 5 shows, youths who attended the respective measure until it was finished generally gave it positive marks in retrospect. More than four-fifths said that they enjoyed participating in it. Here there was virtually no difference to be seen between the different types of measures. By contrast, participants in a vocational preparation course / prevocational training year indicated that they had acquired less technical or vocational knowledge than participants in the two other types of programmes. A similar pattern could be observed in the participants' assessment of what they were able to learn for their own personal development. Individuals who attended a full-time vocational school programme that leads to partial vocational qualification were most likely to say that their participation would have a very positive effect on their occupational career. This was more seldom the case for individual who were enrolled in a vocational preparation course / prevocational training year.

In view of the fact that most participants had originally wanted to undergo vocational training that would lead to full qualification for a particular occupation, the generally very favourable assessments of the transition measures are surprising. It must however be remembered here that "many youths have the need to interpret the experiences they gather in connection with their own occupational biography as positively as possible" and therefore tend to view the stages they have completed in their education in retrospect as being of benefit to them (Ulrich 2008, p. 14). All the same, these findings indicate that programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification enjoy a high level of acceptance among youths.

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How many youths earn a (higher-level) school leaving certificate?
The school leaving qualifications that individuals earn while attending programmes provided through the transition system are considered to be an important criterion for success. Chart 6 shows how often (first-time) participants in a transition measure earn a school leaving certificate or a higher-level certificate than the one they already had. It also shows the overall distribution of school leaving certificates before and after attending a transition measure.12 Only those youths who completed the measure they were enrolled in were examined here.  

As this chart shows, relatively few participants in a vocational preparation course / prevocational training year or a basic vocational training year improved the level of their school leaving certificate. Only one in every ten of the members of these groups did. In these cases, the participants in a vocational preparation course / prevocational training year usually earned a school leaving certificate equivalent to lower secondary school. Many individuals who did a basic vocational training year earned an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate. By contrast, more than 50% of the individuals who attended a programme at a full-time vocational school earned a higher-level school leaving certificate: Some two-thirds earned an intermediate school leaving certificate and approximately one-third a higher-level certificate, usually qualification to enrol in a university of applied sciences.  

As a result, the differences in the distribution of school leaving certificates were even greater upon completion of transition measures than they were before: More than one-fourth of the individuals who participated in a vocational preparation course / prevocational training year still did not have a lower secondary school leaving certificate upon completion of the respective measure. By contrast, more than four-fifths of the individuals who completed a full-time vocational school programme that leads to partial vocational qualification earned at least an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate. Sixteen per cent had earned an even higher-level certificate.  

It can be said that full-time vocational school programmes which lead to partial vocational qualification offer good prospects for earning an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate, particularly for youths who finished their secondary schooling with a lower secondary schooling leaving certificate. This also applies - to a lesser degree however - to school leavers with an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate that in some cases were able to earn qualification for enrolment in a university of applied sciences. In contrast, the chances of earning a (higher level of) school leaving certificate through a vocational preparation course / prevocational training year or a basic vocational training year were comparatively small.

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How long does the transition to vocational training take?
The time it takes until an individual makes the transition to vocational training that leads to full qualification for an occupation is considered to be the main yardstick for assessing the effectiveness of measures provided through the transition system (see Autorengruppe Bildungsberichterstattung 2008 / Authoring Group Educational Reporting 2008). Using Kaplan-Meier estimates, the following analysis examines participants who completed the programme they were enrolled in and participants who dropped out. The analysis tracked the three-year period following the individual's completion of the respective programme.13

Since in-company vocational training is the most frequently-chosen type of training for youths who have completed intermediate secondary school at most, transitions to this type of vocational training will be examined first. Only those persons will be examined who looked for a training place for in-company vocational training while they were still enrolled in a transition measure. As the left section of Chart 7 shows, half of this group of participants who were enrolled in a vocational preparation course or prevocational training year had begun in-company vocational training within a year of completing the particular scheme. This figure was 57% for such participants in a full-time vocational school programme which leads to partial vocational qualification and 63% for their counterparts who completed a basic vocational training year. Three years after completion of the transition measure, this figure had risen to 61% for such participants in a vocational preparation course or prevocational training year and 69% for participants in a full-time vocational school programme that leads to partial vocational qualification. At 83%, the transition rate was considerably higher among such participants who did a basic vocational training year.14

This analysis will now be expanded to include all forms of vocational training that lead to full qualification for a particular occupation. In other words, the following analysis takes into consideration not only in-company vocational training but also extra-company vocational training and school-based vocational training - including university studies - plus all participants, regardless of whether they had looked for a training place for in-company vocational training (see the right section of Chart 7). The transition rates one year after completing a transition measure were 54% for full-time vocational school programmes which lead to partial vocational qualification, 58% for vocational preparation courses and prevocational training years and 65% for basic vocational training years. Three years after completing a transition measure, the transition rate had risen to 70% for vocational preparation courses and prevocational training years, to 76% in the case of full-time vocational school programmes which lead to partial vocational qualification and to 81% for basic vocational training years. It is apparent here that a relatively large portion of those youths who attend vocational preparation courses or do a prevocational training year or who attend a full-time vocational school programme which leads to partial vocational qualification end up in extra-company or school-based vocational training programmes while many of the youths who do a basic vocational training year succeed in landing a training place for in-company vocational training.

All in all, it can be said that only relatively few youths start a vocational training programme that leads to full qualification for a particular occupation directly after participating in a transition measure. Viewed over a longer period however, a large portion of youths in the transition system succeeds in making the transition to regular vocational training. However, more than one-fifth had not begun any kind of regular vocational training even three years after completing a transition measure. No significant differences between the individual types of measures were observable in this connection.

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What are the determinants for a (rapid) transition?
What determines whether there is a small or large chance that a youth will quickly end up in regular vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification following his/her (first-time) participation in a training measure provided through the transition system? Using statistical explanatory models (Cox regression), determinants can be identified which - when all other variables are controlled - have an independent effect on the transition rate. In other words, raise it or lower it (see Chart 8).

The following analysis also examines the transition to in-company vocational training first. Looking at all participants who tried to find a training place for in-company vocational training, the level of the school leaving certificate that the individual has upon finishing the respective measure has a strong influence on whether he/she makes this transition: Youths who have an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate or higher certificate have much better chances of quickly finding a training place for in-company vocational training than if they have a lower secondary school leaving certificate or less (see Chart 8, column 1).15 The chances of making a prompt transition are reduced by having one's residence in one of Germany's eastern states,16 being female, having an immigrant background and by being older than average upon completing a measure. By contrast, it could not be shown that the type of measure had an influence. Finishing a measure in the regular way or with a higher-level school leaving certificate did not have a positive effect either.

This picture is however different when only those youths are examined who had a lower secondary school leaving certificate or less when they started the particular measure (see Chart 8, column 2). These youths are more likely to find a training place for in-company vocational training when they attend the transition measure to the end as compared to their counterparts who drop out. And their chances of making this transition are even greater when they earn a (higher-level) school leaving certificate while attending the measure. By contrast, this is not the case for youths who already had an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate before they started the particular transition measure (see Chart 8, column 3). The probability of their making the transition to in-company vocational training is not affected by whether they discontinue the transition measure, finish it or earn a higher-level school leaving certificate.17 An immigrant background has a negative effect on the chances of making the transition to in-company vocational training in the case of both levels of school leaving certificates.

Expanding this analysis to include all forms of vocational training (including university studies) and all participants in transition measures leads to the following findings in particular: All in all, finishing a transition measure has a positive influence on the individual's chances of making the transition to regular vocational training. These chances in turn improve in tandem with the level of the individual's school leaving certificate upon completion of the measure (see Chart 8, column 4).

The advantages of finishing a transition measure in the regular way and earning a (higher-level) school leaving certificate are quite evident among participants who had a lower secondary school leaving certificate or less prior to starting the transition measure (see Chart 8, column 5). On the other hand, discontinuing the transition measure, completing it or earning a higher-level school leaving certificate while attending the measure did not have an effect for those individuals who had completed intermediate secondary school before starting the measure.18 Compared to a vocational preparation course or a prevocational training year, attending a full-time vocational school programme was associated with a lesser probability of making a rapid transition to regular vocational training. One reason for this could be that some of the individuals who finished a full-time vocational school programme enrolled directly in a specialised upper secondary school (Fachoberschule) in order to earn a higher-level school leaving certificate.19 Once again, in the case of both levels of school leaving certificate, an immigrant background lowered the individual's chances of making the transition to vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification.

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What patterns are typically observed following completion of a measure?
The following section analyzes in greater detail participants' 'careers' over a period of two years after finishing their (first) transition measure.20 For this analysis, the type of programme or other activity the respective youths were undergoing - broken down by seven different types of status - was determined every month following completion of a transition measure21 (see Chart 9). Using this method it is possible to depict the course of an individual's 'vocational career' as a chronological series of different states and thus as a sequence. By using the optimal matching method, followed by clustering, it is possible to identify certain types of patterns.22 This established three types of patterns for participants in transition measures. To illustrate these types, Chart 9 shows the biographical patterns of 20 randomly selected youths for each of these three patterns. The following section outlines the three typical patterns and the groups of persons who exhibit the respective type of pattern:

Type 1:  Fast transition to in-company vocational training

Youths in this category quickly find a training place for in-company vocational training. In most cases, such youths start vocational training immediately after finishing their transition measure. As a rule, this training is conducted on a long-term basis. All in all, just under half (47%) of youths who participated (for the first time) in one of the three types of transition measures examined here can be categorised as Type 1. Many of these youths (42%) have a lower secondary school leaving certificate upon finishing their transition measure. However, a relatively large number have an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate (42%) or higher-level school leaving certificate (6%). Comparatively few youths did not earn a school leaving certificate (7%). One-quarter of the youths in this category had an immigrant background.

Type 2:  A relatively fast transition to vocational training that is not conducted on an in-company basis

In most cases, youths belonging to this category start an extra-company or school-based vocational training programme soon after finishing their transition measure. A small share of this group has to wait or search somewhat longer, first finishes another measure offered through the transition system or works during the interim. They then usually undergo vocational training on a long-term basis. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of the participants exhibit this pattern. At 17%, the portion of youths who still do not have a school leaving certificate upon completion of their transition measure is relatively large. A total of 36% have a lower secondary school leaving certificate, 42% have an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate and 5% have a higher-level school leaving certificate. A lower-than-average portion of youths (16%) in this category has an immigrant background.

Typ 3: The transition to vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification has not been made or is not (yet) planned

The majority of youths in this category do not start regular vocational training in the first two years following completion of their (first) transition measure. Those who do start vocational training discontinue it after a very short time. In most cases, youths in this category enrol in another transition measure or take up employment. Many youths however stay at home either because they were looking for a vocational training programme or a job or due to family-related or private reasons. Nearly one-third (31%) of all participants in transition measures exhibit this generally very problematical Type 3 pattern. At 25%, the share of youths who do not have a school leaving certificate (upon completion of their transition measure) is very large. Thirty-nine per cent have a lower secondary school leaving certificate. This category however also includes persons with an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate (33%) or a higher-level school leaving certificate (3%). A disproportionately large share (42%) of young people in this category has an immigrant background.

For a small portion (13%) of the youths in this category it cannot be said however that the transition was difficult: These youths attend a specialised, vocationally-oriented upper secondary school (Fachoberschule) or a technical upper secondary school (Fachgymnasium) immediately following their transition measure or later. However, for nearly half (47%) of them the primary reason for this was that they had not been able to find or did not feel there was any other opportunity to undergo vocational training. The other half continue their schooling with the sole aim of earning a higher level school leaving certificate and thus do not for the time being have any plans to pursue vocational training. Those individuals who do earn qualification to enter a university of applied sciences or an even higher level of qualification that entitles them to enrol in any university in Germany subsequently have particularly good prospects for finding vocational training that leads to full qualification for a specific occupation.

Conclusion

Training programmes that are provided through the transition system and attended primarily by large numbers of individuals who have completed lower secondary school at most have three key functions: Firstly, they are supposed to help individuals who do not satisfy the prerequisites for vocational training to acquire the fundamental knowledge and attitudes necessary for successful vocational training. Secondly, they offer youths who want to improve their academic credentials after finishing their general schooling the opportunity to earn an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate or higher-level certificate. Thirdly, measures offered through the transition system have - particularly during the last 10 to 15 years - also taken on the task of providing a 'tideover' solution for the time until the start of regular vocational training for youths who have the fundamental knowledge and attitudes necessary for successful vocational training but have not been able to find a training place for in-company vocational training due to the tight vocational training market.

A look at the youths in the transition system as a group reveals that they frequently have a more unfavourable family background and were less successful in school than youths who were able to make the transition to regular vocational training without first attending a programme that leads to partial vocational qualification. This alone does not however entirely explain the need to attend a programme provided through the transition system.

In many instances it is not possible to unequivocally say which function a transition measure has in the particular case. First of all, the construct of 'having the fundamental knowledge and attitudes required for successful vocational training' is rather vague and controversial (see Eberhard 2006, Ehrenthal/Eberhard/Ulrich 2005). Secondly, evidence is lacking that all the criteria used here (see 2009 National Pact) must already be satisfied upon starting vocational training and are truly indispensible to undergoing and completing vocational training.23 And youths who aspire to earning a higher level of school leaving certificate often do so only because they feel that their chances of receiving vocational training would otherwise be too small (see Birkelbach 2007). In addition, there is a risk of attributing personal shortcomings even to youths who were unable to find a training place solely due to a shortage of training places (see Ulrich 2004). Consequently it is not easy to say for whom it is probably necessary and useful to attend a measure provided through the transition system prior to undergoing vocational training and for whom this would not be necessary or useful.

In light of this, how can the effectiveness of the transition system be assessed? In which cases does it improve the individual's chances of undergoing vocational training and in which cases does it lead to the individual being 'put on hold' unnecessarily and pointlessly?

Can earning a (higher-level) school leaving certificate which the individual did not have before always be viewed as something that improves the individual's chances of undergoing vocational training because the respective youth has gained 'added value' through the resultant broadening of his/her training options (see Werner/Neumann/Schmidt 2008)? Examined from this angle, full-time vocational school programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification performed best: More than half the individuals attending a full-time vocational school programme through the transition system earned a higher-level school leaving certificate. By contrast, only about one in every ten individuals who were enrolled in a vocational preparation course / prevocational training year or a basic vocational training year accomplished this.

Irrespective of this, the destination of youths following their participation in a transition measure and, most importantly, the time it took to make the transition to vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification for a particular occupation constitute important, measurable indicators for success. The three types of programmes that lead to partial vocational qualification which were examined here do not differ substantially from one another in this regard: More than half of the youths who attended a vocational preparation course / prevocational training year or did a basic vocational training year (53% in both cases) began regular vocational training within four months of completing their respective transition measure. This figure was 47% among youths who attended a full-time vocational school programme that leads to partial vocational qualification. It is however doubtful if this could be classified in every case as a success for the transition measure or if the transition measure can be considered the cause for these youths' successful transition to regular vocational training. The reason: Some of the participants in programmes provided through the transition system already have the fundamental knowledge and attitudes necessary for successful vocational training and could have started regular vocational training immediately upon completion of their general academic schooling - if there had been training places for them.

Earlier analyses of school leavers' transitions to in-company vocational training have shown that it is worth an individual's while to earn a school leaving certificate through programmes in the transition system "- compared to youths who did not attend or finish a corresponding programme in the transition system after they had been unable to find a training place for in-company vocational training," (Beicht/Ulrich 2008a, S. 291). It is undisputed that it is better to participate in a training measure in order to bridge the time until one can start regular vocational training rather than, for example, simply stay at home. As the findings from this study show, compared to discontinuing a transition measure, completing a transition measure is of (statistically verifiable) advantage only for those youths who had completed lower secondary school at most prior to starting the transition measure. Completing a transition measure has a particularly positive effect on the chances of such youths making the transition to regular vocational training when they additionally earn a (higher level of) school leaving certificate. By contrast, in the case of youths who already hold an intermediate secondary school level certificate, the question of whether they complete or discontinue a transition measure has no effect on these youths' chances of making the transition to in-company vocational training or vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification. The transition system offers such youths an advantage only when they earn a higher level of school leaving certificate. In such cases, the added advantage exists solely with regard to increasing their training options.

A significant portion of those youths who first attend a transition measure after they complete their general schooling still hasn't made the transition to regular vocational training three years later. This applies to an estimated 20% to 30% of this group of participants. Many of these youths attend further transition measures, job around, are unemployed or remain at home for personal reasons. There is a large risk in such cases that these individuals will never undergo vocational training and thus have no viable means for their integration into employment (see Beicht/Ulrich 2008c).

What conclusions are to be drawn from this? Is the massive criticism expressed in many quarters justified? If yes, what should be changed? It would be impossible to provide a 'one-size-fits-all' answer to these questions. In actual fact, an adequate answer requires a nuanced evaluation.

When it is not possible for schools to teach youths the fundamental knowledge and attitudes they will need to undergo vocational training one day - although this is a school's primary job - measures provided through the transition system, particularly in the form of vocational preparation courses, have an indispensable function. Further improvements to the transition system would however be needed. In this connection, the Board of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training has issued proposals in which it calls for shifting vocational training assistance for disadvantaged youths from extra-company vocational training (which is currently conducted primarily at full-time vocational schools) to 'dual' vocational training which combines part-time vocational schooling with practical work experience. The Board additionally noted that expanding regional transition management systems (see Bertelsmann Stiftung 2008, Bylinski 2008, Ulrich/Krekel 2009) could additionally help avert problematical developments in the individual's occupational biography.

Programmes which lead to partial vocational qualification and are offered by full-time vocational schools not only have a long tradition of helping youths who want to earn a higher-level school leaving certificate after completing their general schooling, such training programmes also have an important function which they fulfil quite successfully in many cases.

When youths satisfy the requirements for undergoing vocational training to learn a particular occupation - regardless of whether they are able to satisfy these requirements following their general schooling or after completing a transition measure - and they have chosen to undergo vocational training for the particular occupation, this means that their (involuntary) participation in programmes offered through the transition system represents first and foremost a stopgap solution - and lost time. The reason: Although it is possible in many cases to credit a transition measure toward the individual's subsequent vocational training, this is seldom done (see Braun/Müller 2009). Making the crediting of transition measures mandatory would in such cases tend to be counterproductive because enterprises would probably be much less willing to take on youths for (an abbreviated period of) in-company vocational training. The only solution to this problem would be to make it possible for youths who have the fundamental knowledge and attitudes needed for successful vocational training and for successfully practising an occupation to immediately start a vocational training programme in which they can earn full vocational qualification - as, for example, called for in the Vocational Training 2015 concept issued by the Bertelsmann Foundation (see Bertelsmann Stiftung / Bertelsmann Foundation 2009). Only in this way will it be possible to keep youths from being put in an unnecessary 'holding pattern'.

This means however that it will be necessary to create additional, government-financed extra-company vocational training options as long as there are not enough training places available to meet the demand from youths who have the fundamental knowledge and attitudes necessary for successful vocational training and for successfully practising an occupation. One conceivable option would be assistance modelled on the company-based vocational training that is offered on a collaborative basis through the Training Place Programme for the Eastern States (see Berger et al. 2007).24 Funds that would be saved in the transition system (see Werner/Neumann/ Schmidt 2008) could be used for this. As a result, all youths would be assured of having their efforts in the education system be 'rewarded' with a training place (see Kowalski 2009). In this way, it would be possible to keep individuals from giving up and dropping out of the education system - a step that brings enormous risks for the individual's future life and incurs enormous costs to society.

  • 1 In addition to this, Germany's states and municipalities also have preparatory vocational schemes, such as those offered through youth welfare services and youth social work offices. However, there is no systematic survey of these activities (see Dietrich/Dressel/Janik 2009, Neubauer 2006).
  • 2 This report uses the definition used in the National Education Reports.
  • 3 These figures are based on the 2008 BA/BIBB Vocational Training Applicant Survey conducted by the Federal Employment Agency (BA) and the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)..
  • 4 Studies on the effectiveness of training programmes provided through the transition system have been conducted to date only for individual types of programmes, groups of school leavers and/or are limited to individual states (see for example Becker/Grebe/Asmus 2008, Dietrich 2008, Fertig et al. 2009, Galetzka/Stein 2008, Kühnlein 2009, Reißig/Gaupp/Lex 2008, Schmidt/Walter 2008).
  • 5 The 2008 National Education Report noted in this connection: "The best yardstick for measuring effectiveness would be the skills and competences taught during the training measure. Since these are not measured, attributes such as the level of certificate earned during the measure, the destination of participants after completing the measures (especially: whether they subsequently start regular vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification) and - globally for the efficiency of the entire transition system - the time it takes to make the transition to vocational training that leads to full vocational qualification are to be used for an approximation." (Autorengruppe Bildungsberichterstattung 2008 / Authoring Group Educational Reporting 2008, p. 167).
  • 6 'Vocational preparation course' and 'prevocational training year' were grouped together because the survey was able to generate only a comparatively small number of cases for these two types of programmes. This can be attributed to the fact that persons with a low level of education are much less willing to take part in a survey than persons with a higher level of education are. The sample was weighted in order compensate for this as far as possible (see Beicht/Friedrich 2008).
  • 7 It must be remembered that the Programme for the Provision of Introductory Training for Young People was launched only in October 2004. Such introductory training measures are consequently seen relatively seldom in the Transition Study.
  • 8 In light of the large number of entrants reported in the statistics however, the share calculated for the vocational preparation course / prevocational training year appears to be somewhat too small and the share for the basic vocational year too large. This is probably due on the one hand to the underreporting of youths with a lower level of education (see also Footnote 6) which could not be entirely compensated for through weighting, and on the other hand to the fact that the respondents could not always categorise their type of training measure appropriately. All in the all, the findings probably represent the 'lower limit'.
  • 9 In the case of school leavers who hold an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate however, it must be noted that a relatively large share of this group enrolled in a specialised, vocationally-oriented upper secondary school (Fachoberschule) or a technical upper secondary school (Fachgymnasium) following completion of their general schooling. Although these are considered vocational schools, they are not classified as part of the transition system. The focus of most students at these schools is on earning a higher level of school leaving certificate. However, some training place seekers who have been unable to land a training place also attend a Fachoberschule or a Fachgymnasium with the aim of improving their chances of undergoing vocational training in the 'dual' vocational training system.
  • 10 The calculation of the drop-out rates used only those measures that the respondents could have finished on schedule by the time of the survey. By using this approach it was possible to avoid a situation in which discontinued measures are given disproportionate consideration (weighted findings; unweighted number of cases: 893).
  • 11 Multiple answers were possible when citing the reasons for discontinuing a measure.
  • 12 Only the lower, intermediate and upper secondary school leaving certificates were examined here. Intermediate levels such as the qualified lower secondary school leaving certificate were not taken into consideration because not every state has them and the regulations also vary from state to state.
  • 13 The calculations for Kaplan-Meier estimates can also include participants who have not yet completed the entire 36-month monitoring period following completion of the particular transition measure (censored cases). A precise description of this method can be found in, for example, Beicht/Ulrich 2008, p. 181 ff.
  • 14 In this connection, ending up in an extra-company or school-based vocational training programme is considered a 'competing occurrence'. In other words, such cases are treated as 'censored' from this point on. The differences between the curves for the respective type of measure were not significant when tested using various methods (Log Rank, Breslow, Tarone-Ware) which was done using unweighted data.
  • 15 The enormous influence that the individual's level of school leaving certificate has can generally be seen in transitions from general schooling to in-company vocational training (see Beicht/Ulrich 2008a).
  • 16 This effect has probably since diminished - and possibly even reversed direction - due to the sharp drop in the number of youths in Germany's eastern states (see Große Deters/Ulrich/Ulmer 2008).
  • 17 A significant effect can be seen here only for the variable 'immigrant background'. The entire model is not significant.
  • 18 The fact that discontinuing a transition measure does not in this case lead to a longer wait until the individual starts regular vocational training could also be due to the fact that youths with an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate give considerable thought to when they will discontinue the measure. In other words, they often remain in a programme that leads to partial vocational qualification until they have concrete prospects for training that leads to full vocational qualification and can start it shortly.
  • 19 A further reason could be that a relatively large portion of youths who hold an intermediate secondary school certificate and are enrolled in a vocational preparation course or prevocational training year make the transition to extra-company vocational training.
  • 20 In this analysis, the individuals had to have already completed the entire period under observation. It was necessary to limit this to two years because there would otherwise not have been a sufficiently large number of cases.
  • 21 The first two months following the end of a measure were not included because these are very often 'normal' waiting periods.
  • 22 See, among others, Erzberger/Prein 1997, Beicht/Ulrich 2008a regarding the process used for the sequence pattern analysis.
  • 23 For example, Dietrich et al. (2009, p. 332) notes in this connection: "The matter-of-course way that the term gained usage in day-to-day vocational guidance practice stands in sharp contrast to its fuzziness. So the question of to what extent these attributes actually correlate positively with the course and success of the individual's training remains unanswered."
  • 24 According to Braun/Müller (2009, p. 50) "the existence of this type of 'assured transition'" possibly presents "an explanation for the relatively low rate of unskilled workers in many parts of eastern Germany".

Related literature

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Imprint BIBB REPORT

BIBB REPORT
Volume 3, Issue 11, October 2009
ISSN Internet: 1866-7279
ISSN Print: 1865-0821

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This online publication has been registered and archived with the German National Library.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0035-0391-7