Dual vocational education and training not leading to a qualification - causes and further VET histories
An analysis on the basis of the 2011 BIBB Transitional Study
Ursula Beicht, Günter Walden
Not all young people entering vocational education and training in the dual system actually successfully complete such training. Although many go on to continue their incomplete training in another occupation, the worst case scenario is a permanent exit from participation in education and training. For this reason, failure to complete training within an occupation frequently represents a problem for both the trainees and for the companies providing training. There are, however, many questions that require clarification. How often do trainees fail to obtain a qualification because they end (or have to end) training prematurely or because they do not pass the final examination? Are there factors that significantly increase or decrease the risk that dual training ends without a qualification? From the point of view of the young people, what are the reasons why their training terminates prematurely or unsuccessfully? What is the later career progression of young people who remain without a qualification following initial vocational education and training? How likely are they to progress to dual training once again or to another from of fully qualifying training? The present report will address these issues using the database of the 2011 Transitional Study conducted by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB).
What information do the Vocational Education and Training Statistics provide on training that does not lead to a qualification?
In the light of the impending shortage of skilled workers, the problem area of dropout from dual vocational education and training is currently of particular significance in terms of educational policy and has been attracting considerable public attention recently (cf. e.g. "Die Welt" online of 25 January 2013). Of particular interest is the question as to how many training participants are unsuccessful. Official statistics do not, however, provide a simple and clear answer in this regard. Although the Vocational Education and Training Statistics of the Federal Statistical Office and the Statistical Offices of the Federal States (hereinafter referred to as the "VET statistics") regularly record premature dissolutions of training contracts and final examinations which have not been passed, it is not possible to determine directly how often a course of vocational education and training begun is actually not successfully completed.
In the VET statistics, the annual proportion of contract dissolutions is calculated on the basis of the number of dissolutions reported. Evaluations are also carried out in accordance with a series of statistical characteristics (occupation, gender, nationality, highest general school leaving certificate, training sector). Notwithstanding this, the statistics do not provide any indications as to the reasons for contract dissolutions. In 2011, almost 150,000 training contracts (24.4%) were prematurely dissolved across the whole of Germany (cf. Uhly 2013 in respect of the remarks below). There are considerable differences between the various training occupations. The spectrum ranges from the occupation of clerk in public administration, which has the lowest rate of dissolution of 3.7%, to the occupation of restaurant specialist, where the rate is 51.0%. Major differences are also exhibited in accordance with the school leaving qualifications the young people hold - the higher the school leaving qualification, the lower the dissolution rate. Occupation and school leaving qualification each seem to exert an independent influence (Baethge et al. 2011: 214). By way of contrast, there are only slight differences between the dissolution rate of men (24.1%) and women (24.9%) (Uhly 2013). With regard to the time at which dissolutions take place, 33.7% of cases occur during the probationary period and a further 31.1% during the first year of training (Uhly 2013).
Whereas in the case of contract dissolutions there is still a lack of clarity as to whether this actually constitutes the end of training within the respective occupation, failure to complete the final examination successfully always represents a serious negative event for the trainees. The rate of final examinations passed is regularly calculated on the basis of the VET statistics. In 2011, the overall pass rate for all examination candidates (including re-sits) was 92.2% (Ebbinghaus 2013).
Dissolution of training contracts
Pursuant to § 22 of the Vocational Training Act, a training contract may be terminated at any time during the probationary period (a maximum of four months) by either party without requirement to state a reason and without requirement to give notice. Thereafter, a contract may only be terminated without requirement to give notice if there is an important reason. After the probationary period, trainees also have the right to dissolve a training contract with a period of notice of four weeks if they are giving up vocational education and training or if they wish to pursue training for a different occupational activity. The public perception is often that contract dissolutions represent dropping out of training, although this view is not the correct one (cf. e.g. Bohlinger 2002, Uhly 2013). The proportion of contract dissolutions should not in any way be confused with the drop-out rate. It may be the case that young people commence dual training in another occupation following the contract dissolution (cf. e.g. Bohlinger 2002: 21). If a training contract is dissolved, it is also possible that training in the occupation in question is continued at another company. The Vocational Education and Training Statistics do not record the destination of young people after a contract dissolution (Uhly 2013).
Although contract dissolutions have been the object of academic research studies on many occasions in the past, more broadly based quantitative studies form the exception in this regard. There is a predominance of qualitative studies involving limited statistical populations (cf. the summary given in Bohlinger 2002: 24). In more recent times, investigations for certain regions have also been conducted (Piening et al. 2012, Piening/Hauschildt/Rauner, year not stated). The last representative study of young people for the whole of Germany in 2003 (Schöngen 2003) showed that a new training contract was concluded for approximately one in two contract dissolutions. Of this group, around 60% remained within their previous occupation (Schöngen 2003: 36). In contrast to Germany, a current representative study is available for Switzerland. This is a longitudinal study that places the main emphasis of investigation on the period following the contract dissolution (Schmid 2010). This study reveals that a new phase of vocational orientation and career choice begins for the young people after the dissolution of the contract (Stalder/Schmid 2012: 274). Within two years of the contarct dissolution, approximately 70% of the young people have recommenced training at upper secondary level (Schmid 2010: 158).
A current German regional study shows that the dissolution of the training contract is instigated by the company in about half of cases, by the trainees on 30% of the occasions and by both parties 20% of the time (Piening et. al. 2012: 12). The available literature agrees that the following reasons are particularly relevant to trainees with regard to the dissolution of contracts (cf. Bohlinger 2002: 43 ff.).
- Difficulties with trainers and line managers
- Wrong career choice
- Poor quality of training
- Personal problems
- Health problems
- Financial difficulties
From the point of view of the trainees, premature contract dissolutions cannot be classified in a blanket way as good or bad (Bohlinger 2002: 64). If the career choice made was not the right one, a premature dissolution represents a necessary correction of a preceding wrong decision. Health problems caused by training in the occupation in question also mean that reorientation is required. If no contract dissolution were to occur in such cases, problems would simply be postponed and would return in a more serious form at a later date. To this extent, contract dissolutions may certainly also be associated with opportunities for trainees rather than merely with risks. The most significant factor in each case is, however, what happens after the contract dissolution and whether the trainee succeeds in progressing to training once more.
The last representative study for the whole of Germany conducted by Schöngen showed that wrong career choice was responsible for about one in three contract dissolutions (Schöngen 2003: 36). 46% of respondents stated personal reasons (not further specified). According to Schöngen (2003: 36), however, company-related reasons predominate.1 These are relevant in approximately 70% of cases and point in particular to conflicts with trainers and line managers. In such a problem situation, the most sensible approach would always be either to prevent the contract dissolution or else continue training in the selected occupation at another company. Contract dissolutions are mostly a creeping process rather than an abrupt occurrence (Stamm 2012: 23). To this extent, opportunities are generally available for the development of preventative strategies (Bohlinger 2002: 64 ff.). One particular problem situation occurs when company establishments close, go bankrupt or relocate. The survey carried out by Schöngen indicated that 12% of all cases were due to these circumstances (Schöngen 2003: 35).
The existing literature also largely agrees as to the reasons for contract dissolutions from the point of view of the companies. The following reasons should in particular be stated (Bohlinger 2002: 45 ff.).
- Learning difficulties and poor performance of young people in the company and at the vocational school
- Trainee absences
- Lack of motivation on the part of the trainees
According to a current exploratory study, performance-related and motivational factors are the dominant company reasons for contract dissolutions (Jablonka 2012). At the same time, as is the case with the young people themselves, there is more frequent mention of aspects relating to wrong career choice. A BIBB Training Panel evaluation of individual company characteristics (Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training 2012, cf. also Piening et al. 2012, Piening/Hauschildt/Rauner, year not stated) shows major differences in the occurrence of contract dissolutions. The larger the size of the company, the higher the likelihood is that premature dissolutions will occur. This is usually connected with the fact that larger companies have higher numbers of trainees. Notwithstanding this, the proportion of small companies with an above-average level of contract dissolutions is significantly larger than the corresponding proportion of major companies.
For companies, a contract dissolution always represents a loss of resources. In a model calculation for the year 2007, BIBB (Wenzelmann/Lemmermann 2012) arrives at the conclusion that companies affected incurred a loss of approximately €580 million as a result of contract dissolutions. One particular way in which companies could achieve a reduction in these costs is by better selection of trainees (Stamm 2012: 21), although timely measures to counter problems could also be effective.
Contract dissolutions represent a problem for the young people concerned in many cases and usually always create difficulties for the companies affected. Education and training policy has been reacting to the situation for some considerable time by instigating initiatives and programmes aimed at developing preventative strategies and preventing contract dissolutions (see e.g. Böse/Heinke 2010, Jasper et al. 2009, Quante-Brandt 2005).
Extensive databases containing information on the size and composition of the group of persons commencing VET in an occupation without concluding such training are available in the form of the statistics on contract dissolutions and final examinations passed or not passed. Existing studies addressing the problem area of the dissolution of training contracts also provide multifarious information. Nevertheless, the available data and analyses do not permit a reliable calculation of the actual proportion of trainees in Germany who do not successfully complete training begun in a certain occupation. Neither are there any current and representative findings on what happens following the end of training without achieving a qualification.
The aim below is to use the 2011 BIBB Transitional Study, a representative survey of progression processes at the transition from school to training and employment (see box), to present how frequently a course of dual vocational education and training2 is ended without achieving a qualification. The analysis focuses on young people who have entered dual vocational education and training for the first time but fail to complete such training successfully within the occupation originally selected. This means that the subjects of the present analysis are young people who have either terminated training in the relevant occupation prior to the final examination or who have (definitively) not passed the final examination. This does not include young people who have changed companies during training in their original occupation or young people who have interrupted and later recommenced training in the same occupation.
The 2011 BIBB Transitional Study is a broadly-based and wide-ranging survey of the transitional processes from school to work. The investigation of training which ends prematurely or unsuccessfully was not a main focus of the study. For this reason, only a few questions within the survey are specifically directed at this problem area. Young people ending dual training without achieving a qualification are also comparatively weakly represented within the sample. Nevertheless, the database facilitates a series of informative analyses regarding the ending of dual training which does not lead to a qualification. It is, for example, possible to determine the proportion of young people whose (first) course of dual training within the original occupation ends without a qualification. The extent of the difference between young people with and without training that has been successfully completed can also be investigated. Characteristics can be identified that increase or decrease the likelihood that training will not lead to a qualification. It is also possible to reveal what the reasons for premature or unsuccessful ending of training are from the point of view of the trainees. And finally, the further career progression of young people after the ending of training that has not led to a qualification can also be investigated - i.e. how likely it is that they will commence another course of fully qualifying training, how long such training lasts and the factors determining re-progression to training.
The database of the 2011 BIBB Transitional Study does not permit us to answer the question as to how often dissolutions of training contracts resulted in termination of the dual training without a qualification. The survey did not record contarct dissolutions or changes of company during training in a particular occupation. Changing companies always results in a contract dissolution with the original company providing training. The 2011 BIBB Transitional Study asked only whether young people had concluded training in the respective occupation with or without a qualification.
It is, however, no simple matter to use the 2011 BIBB Transitional Study as a basis for determining how likely trainees are to end an initial course of vocational education and training without achieving a qualification. The difficulty of this particular dataset is that the VET histories of the subjects of the survey, young people aged between 18 and 24, differ widely and the period of observation of respondents progressing to dual vocational education and training is extremely varied. At the time when the survey was conducted, for example, some young people had only recently progressed to dual training whereas others had ended training some years earlier. An adequate method of analysis is required in order to be able to use all the cases within such a data structure without overestimating or underestimating the proportion of young people who fail to complete training successfully. For this reason, Kaplan-Meier estimates have been conducted. These allow us to determine how likely it is that dual training is ended without a qualification.3
2011 BIBB Transitional Study
The 2011 BIBB Transitional Study is a retrospective longitudinal survey conducted on a representative basis that recorded in detail the whole of the educational and occupational biographies of persons born between 1987 and 1992 and resident in Germany (Eberhard et al. 2013). The 2011 study largely adopted the set of surveying instruments from the year 2006 (Beicht/Friedrich/Ulrich 2008), which were supplemented by adding current questions. The survey took place between July and September 2011 using computer-aided telephone interviews. The 2011 BIBB Transitional Study was conducted entirely by mobile telephone, i.e. the sample was obtained and the interviews were carried out via the mobile telephone network exclusively. Such an approach was necessary due to the fact that it is now frequently not possible to contact the persons forming the target group (aged 18 to 24) via a landline. Virtually all such persons are, however, in possession of a mobile telephone. Within the scope of the interviews, sufficiently complete information was obtained from 5,333 persons. The survey data was adjusted to the structures of the statistical population via weighting in accordance with main characteristics (including school leaving qualification, gender and year of birth).
The estimate made indicates that 12% of trainees end their first dual course of vocational education and training in the originally chosen occupation within 36 months without achieving a qualification. This figure is only half as high as the rate of dissolution of training contracts, which in 2011 was 24.4%. The explanation for this strong deviation is that something different is being measured via these two rates. As already clarified above, the essential difference is that a change of company during training in the same occupation is not taken into account in the termination of training without a qualification forming the object of observation here. It also needs to be taken into consideration that the proportion of trainees identified as not having achieved a qualification in their first course of dual training does not refer to any specific year and that the calculation has been informed by cases from many different years.
Notwithstanding this, two circumstances could indicate that the proportion of young people ending training in their original occupation without achieving a qualification as determined on the basis of the 2011 BIBB Transitional Study represents a certain underestimate. Firstly, methodological reasons dictated that account could only be taken of premature or unsuccessful terminations of training courses within 36 months of commencement of training.4 Particularly in occupations where duration of training is longer, training may end without the achievement of a qualification at a later point in time, an aspect that could not be accorded consideration. Secondly, it seems likely that the young people responding to the survey frequently did not make any mention at all of training which they began but which was of very short duration. Although the aim was for all phases of education and training to be listed in chronological order during the interview, the survey permitted time gaps of up to two months in order to take into account any difficulties in remembering on the part of respondents (Eberhard et al. 2013). Especially when training terminated after a brief period of time lies in the distant past and from the point of view of the young people is not of any great significance for their further training progression, the inclination to omit such a phase from the interview is likely to be high.
As Figure 1 shows, a first course of vocational education and training is most likely to end without leading to a qualification within the first twelve months. The estimate made indicates that training ends within the usual probationary period of four months for 3% of young people. The corresponding figure for the whole of the first year is 6%. The proportion after 24 months is 10%, and the rate reaches the overall level determined of 12% after 36 months.
The likelihood that dual training will end without a qualification within 36 months varies considerably in accordance with the school leaving qualification achieved by young people at commencement of training (cf. Figure 1). Whereas the estimated proportion for young people with an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate is only 9%, this doubles to 18% for those who have only achieved the lower secondary school leaving certificate. There are also clear differences depending on the gender of the young people. Only 10% of young men are estimated to end their training within 36 months without achieving a qualification. By way of contrast, the corresponding figure for young women is 15%.5
The group of persons comprising young people who end their first vocational education and training without achieving a qualification differs relatively strongly from the group of persons comprising young people who successfully complete their first vocational education and training, as a comparison of the distributions of important characteristics shows (cf. Figure 2)6 The objects of observation are socio-demographic characteristics (gender, migration background, region of residence), characteristics of social origin (education of parents, occupational status of father),characteristics of the individual qualifications of the young people (school leaving qualification, school marks7, participation in a transitional measure) and the characteristics of dual training (type of training, occupational area, desired occupation).
This is once again rendered visible by the fact that first dual training is significantly more likely to end prematurely or unsuccessfully in the case of young women and young people with the lower secondary school leaving certificate only due to the fact that such young people are much more strongly represented in the group of persons whose training has not led to a qualification than in the comparison group. In addition to this, it is revealed that young people who end their training without achieving a qualification are more likely to come from a migrant background. It is also more likely that their parents will not have a vocational qualification and that their father tends to exercise a lower skilled activity. Such young people have left general schooling with significantly lower marks and are more likely subsequently to have taken part in a transitional measure.
The type of dual training also varies. Young people who do not conclude training successfully are more likely to be in extra-company training and more likely to be learning a service sector occupation.
The greatest difference is, however, exhibited in evaluation of the training occupation. For two fifths of young people who end training without achieving a qualification, the training occupation does not represent their desired occupation. This is double the corresponding proportion of those who successfully complete their training.8
This means that certain individual characteristics are associated with a higher likelihood that training will end without a qualification. The characteristics that present independent risk factors can, however, only be identified within the scope of statistical explanatory models. Logistic regressions including a control of all other characteristics included can be used to ascertain which factors exert an autonomous influence on the risk that young people will not successfully complete their training.
We began by calculating a model in which all the characteristics stated above were included with the exception of the evaluation of the training occupation (cf. Figure 2, Model 1).9 Even when all other factors are taken into account, this shows that young women at a considerably higher risk than young men of ending dual training without achieving a qualification.10 An increased risk is also shown for young people from a migrant background. There is a particularly large risk that training will not lead to a qualification for young people whose parents are not in possession of a vocational education and training qualification. Compared to these young people, the risk for young people whose parents have completed VET, further education or a higher education qualification is far lower.
The school leaving qualification that the young people have achieved at the commencement of training also exerts a considerable influence in the control of all other characteristics. The highest risk that the training process will end without a qualification occurs when a young person has a maximum of the lower secondary school leaving certificate. Compared to this, the risk reduces significantly for those in possession of the intermediate secondary school leaving certificate and is lowest for young people who have a higher school leaving qualification. A considerable effect is also exerted by the school marks received by young people when leaving general schooling. The better the marks achieved are, the smaller the risk that training will end without a qualification.
Young people who take part in a transitional measure following general schooling are revealed to have a considerably greater risk of ending training without achieving a qualification than those who do not participate in such a scheme. This applies in cases where young people attend the measure until its scheduled end and is true to an even greater extent if the scheme is ended prematurely. This result does not, of course, mean that the transitional measure negatively affects the later training process. The proper interpretation is that the young people concerned have not been able to compensate fully for their school learning deficits by participating in the measure and are also probably more likely to progress to occupations where training conditions are less favourable.
Young people in extra-company training are at a greater risk of ending training without achieving a qualification than those whose training is company-based. There is a possible correlation here with the particular group of young persons in extra-company training. This group particularly comprises young people with learning difficulties or socially disadvantaged young people who require socio-pedagogical learning support during training or young people with disabilities to be integrated into the world of work via the vehicle of extra-company training measures.11 It is likely that such young people often find it particularly difficult to withstand and successfully complete a course of training that extends over several years.12
We will now examine the question of whether the significantly higher
risk for young women of ending training without achieving a
qualification may correlate with the fact that they are much less likely
than young men to undergo training in their desired occupation. The
first step is to consider the relevant distributions. For 46% of all
young women, the occupation in which they undergo training corresponds
with their original career wish. The figure for young men is 53%. By way
of contrast, the training occupation does not represent the desired
career for 27% of young women and 17% of young men. The likely reason
for these differences is the significantly greater difficulties
experienced by young women in finding a company-based training place
Figure 3 shows that there is a large difference in the evaluation of the training occupation by young women and young men alike depending on whether they have ended training without achieving a qualification. In both cases, however, the proportions of young women who have not undergone training in their desired occupation are considerably higher than the corresponding proportions of young men. On the one hand, therefore, the failure to realise an occupational objective is more likely to play a role as a possible reason for the ending of training without a qualification for young women. On the other hand, women are more likely than men to complete training successfully even if their career wish has not been realised.
A second regression model included the evaluation of the training occupation as an additional characteristic (cf. Figure 2, Model 2). As expected, this reveals that the risk of ending training without achieving a qualification increases strongly if the training occupation is not the desired occupation. For the young people concerned, this risk is three times higher than for those undergoing training in their desired occupation. However, even when consideration is accorded to the evaluation of the training occupation, the significantly higher risk that young women will end training without qualification still remains. This means that the fact that young women are less likely to realise their desired career does not provide a sufficient explanation in this regard.
What are the reasons from the point of view of the young people?
The 2011 BIBB Transitional Study also asked young people who had ended their training without achieving a qualification to give what they believed to be the key reasons. As Figure 4 shows, more than half of those affected stated that the training did not appeal to them or had not proved to be the right training for them. This was somewhat more frequently the case with young women than with young men. It is, however, not possible to clarify whether young people stating such a reason have made a wrong career choice or were dissatisfied with their training due to lack of quality, for example.
For many young people, problems with trainers, teachers, colleagues or fellow pupils are responsible for the premature ending of training. Once again, this is somewhat more likely to be the case for young women than for young men. Personal, financial or health reasons are also often significant when training ends without a qualification. This is significantly more likely to be the case for young women than for young men. Health problems are to the fore both for young women and for young men. In addition to this, young women are relatively frequently prevented from continuing training by pregnancy and childcare. This could also be a reason why they have a higher risk of ending training without achieving a qualification. There are, however, also some young men who end their training prematurely in order to concentrate on bringing up their children. In overall terms, it is comparatively rare for financial problems to be stated as the reason for the ending of training without achieving a qualification.
Young people also relatively frequently state that they have not completed a training course they have begun because they were pursuing or had the prospect of an alternative. Intended transfer to another training course is far more likely to be the overall reason for non-completion of training than commencement of employment. Young women and young men are approximately equally likely to seek out alternative training, whereas young men are more likely to want to enter work.
Difficulties with the performance requirements of training are less likely to play a role. Young women are more likely than young men to state that the reason for the premature or unsuccessful ending of training is that the training is too difficult. A smaller proportion of the young people stated that the reason why they had ended training without achieving a qualification was that they had not passed an interim or final examination. Young men were somewhat more likely than young women to give this response.
If young people end dual training commenced in a certain occupation without achieving a qualification, the crucial question that needs to be posed is whether this actually signifies an exit from dual or any kind of fully qualifying training and leaves them without a vocational qualification. For this reason, the aim now is to investigate the further career progression of these young people.
The first thing that needs to be ascertained is how likely it is that they will re-enter fully qualifying training, i.e. dual or school-based VET, civil service training or a course of higher education study, having ended dual vocational education and training without achieving a qualification. To this end, Kaplan-Meier estimates were once again conducted in order to enable the corresponding probabilities to be determined. The object of observation in each case is a period of 24 months following the ending of the first dual training.13
As Figure 5 shows, just under one fifth (19%) of young people who have ended their first vocational education and training without achieving a qualification are estimated to re-progress to fully qualifying training within six months. The proportion of re-progressions increases to 30% within one year and
34% of young people who have ended their first vocational education and training without achieving a qualification are estimated to commence another dual training course within two years. 10% commence training in school-based occupations or civil service training, and 3% begin a course of study at an institute of higher education or University of Applied Sciences.
The probability that young people will recommence fully qualifying training within the course of two years varies only slightly depending on which school leaving qualification they held at the time they began their first course of dual training (cf. Figure 5). 47% of young people with an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate and 45% of those with a maximum of the lower secondary school leaving certificate are estimated to re-progress to training.14
Although a clear difference in re-progression to training is shown between young women and young men in the first 20 months, the proportions are thereafter virtually identical.15 Larger deviations are, however, revealed with regard to the type of new training. 41% of young men started a new course of dual training within two years, a considerably greater proportion than the corresponding figure for young women, which is 27%. On the other hand, young women are much more likely to re-progress to training in school-based occupations or to civil service training than young men, the figures being 18% and only 3% respectively. There is relatively little difference in the proportions of young men (3%) and young women (2%) commencing a course of higher education study having failed to complete vocational education and training.
Cox regressions were calculated in order to find indications as to which factors promote or inhibit rapid re-progression to fully qualifying training.(16) All characteristics which are assumed to be possible influences have been taken into account. The relevant characteristics are gender, migration background, region of residence, school leaving qualification, age of the young persons, type of first dual training and occupational area of first dual training (cf. Figure 6, Model 1).
It is revealed, if the respective other characteristics are controlled, that a University of Applied Sciences/general higher education entrance qualification favours the rapid recommencement of fully qualifying training. Even if the training that ended without a qualification took place in a service sector occupation, this is still associated with higher chances of rapid re-progression.
It also becomes clear that higher age reduces the re-progression chances of the young people. The chances of persons aged over 20 are considerably smaller than the chances of those aged no more than 18. Notwithstanding this, there is a relatively strong correlation between age and the period of time the young people spent in their first dual training not brought to a successful conclusion. For this reason, recommencement of training may depend more on the period of training ended without achieving a qualification than on how old the young people are. In order to investigate this, a further model was calculated which included the duration of the first dual training instead of the age of the young people (cf. Figure 6, Model 2). Although this shows that chances of re-progression reduce as the length of training increases, the result is not significant.
The database used did not permit determination of the probability that the next training following the dual training ended without achieving a qualification will be successfully completed. The assumption is, however, that the success rate in repeated training is lower than the overall average.
Just over half of young people ending dual training without achieving a qualification do not re-progress to fully qualifying training within two years. For those that do re-enter training, a longer period of time frequently elapses before such training is recommenced. For this reason, we should conclude by using a sequential pattern analysis to conduct a more precise investigation into the further pathways of young people whose first dual training has ended prematurely or unsuccessfully. For this purpose, the destination of young people was identified on a month-to-month basis for a period of 18 months following termination of the first course of dual vocational education and training not leading to a qualification. Seven types of status were differentiated (cf. Figure 7).17 The training and occupational histories can be presented as sequences, i.e. as a chronological series of different types of condition. This basis subsequently permits the identification of various types of history pattern.18
Three types of biographical history were identified in the sequential pattern analysis conducted. The sequential pattern of 20 randomly selected young people in each case has been presented in graphical form in Figure 7 in order to illustrate these. The typical histories and the persons exhibiting such a progression may be described in the following terms (cf. also Figure 8).
Type 1 Re-progression to fully qualifying training
The young people with this type of history recommence fully qualifying training with 18 months of ending the first course of dual vocational education and training that has not been successfully concluded.19 Those who do not progress to training very quickly take part in a transitional measure in the meantime, are working or are at home seeking a training opportunity. The young people concerned are relatively likely to have an intermediate or upper secondary school leaving certificate and are frequently still comparatively young, being aged under 19.
Type 2 Progression to employment or non-fully qualifying training
The young people concerned do not re-progress to fully qualifying training within the first 18 months after ending a course of dual vocational education and training without achieving a qualification. In by far the majority of cases, they are now in employment. Some young men are completing their military or civilian service.20 Some young people are taking part in a transitional measure, and some are attending specialised upper secondary school or specialised grammar school. Young men are relatively strongly represented in this type of history, as are young people with the lower secondary school leaving certificate and young migrants.
Type 3 Remained outside the education and training and employment system
These young people do not recommence vocational education and training within 18 months and, in the vast majority of cases, do not enter any other kind of education or training. Neither are they in employment or work. They remain at home for various reasons. This type of history, therefore, needs to be viewed as particularly problematic. The danger is that the young people concerned will remain outside the education and employment system permanently. Young women and young people aged 19 and over are relatively likely to be represented in this group.
According to the analyses carried out on the basis of the 2011 BIBB Transitional Study, 12% of young people are estimated to end the (first) course of vocational education and training without achieving a qualification. Just over a third of them recommence dual training within the following two years. In total, just under half of young people whose first dual vocational education and training has ended without leading to a qualification re-enter fully qualifying training within two years, i.e. they re-progress to dual training, training in school-based occupations, civil service training or a course of higher education study. The database used did not make it possible to determine how many young people finally remain without a fully qualifying vocational education and training certificate having at one time commenced dual training.
The rate of those ending first dual VET without achieving a qualification calculated on the basis of the 2011 BIBB Transitional Study is, therefore, likely to represent an underestimate. The reason for this lies in the recording problems that are inevitable in an empirical sample survey involving the retrospective collection of education and training biographies. Notwithstanding this, a secure view may be taken that the actual drop-out rate in dual vocational education and training is significantly lower than in the higher education sector (Uhly 2013: 167).21 Nevertheless, dual training that has not been successfully completed usually represents a serious problem both for the young people and the companies affected. For this reason, even though the drop-out rate in the dual system is comparatively low, the aim should be to reduce it still further.
The analysis conducted enabled the identification of a series of risk factors for the ending of dual vocational education and training without achieving a qualification. It is shown that young people with lower school leaving qualifications have fewer chances of successfully completing training. The risk of ending training without a qualification is highest for young people with a maximum of the lower secondary school leaving certificate and with relatively poor school marks. Increased risk is also shown for young people from a migrant background and for persons whose parents do not have a vocational qualification. It is particularly noticeable that young women are significantly more likely than young men to end training without achieving a qualification. It is also important whether the training occupation is the desired occupation or not. If young people do not undergo training in their desired occupation, the risk that they will end training without a qualification is significantly higher.
The most frequent reason given by young people for the premature or unsuccessful ending of training is that the training was not right for them. Problems with trainers, teachers, colleagues and fellow pupils and personal, financial and health reasons are also frequently stated. Young women are relatively likely not to complete their training because of pregnancy or childcare. To a certain extent, this explains why their risk of ending training without achieving a qualification is higher than that of young men.
A frequent reason for unsuccessful participation in training is that the training does not appeal to the young person. This means that either training conditions and contents did not meet their expectations or that they were unable to realise their desired occupation. This underlines the necessity of existing programmes to improve vocational orientation and provide career entry support and makes it clear that they should be expanded further. It also shows that it frequently does not make any sense for young people to begin training in an occupation that is far removed from their own wishes and actually represents only an emergency solution. This aspect should be accorded greater consideration in vocational guidance.
For young people, exit from training constitutes a critical life
situation. If there are indications that training may end prematurely,
young people need to receive competent advice, a process in which the
company providing training should also be involved if appropriate. If
the issue at stake involves minor conflicts within the company, such an
advice process may help serve to prevent a dissolution of the training
contract. Notwithstanding this, it need not necessarily be the case that
avoidance of contract dissolution is the most sensible option for the
young person concerned. If the problems during training are too great or
if the occupation does not match the predispositions of the young
person in any way, a change of company or occupation may represent the
better alternative. If company-based training ends prematurely, the main
thing that young people need is rapid and effective support to enable
them to re-progress to training. Young women have particular support
requirements in cases where continuation of training is jeopardised by
pregnancy and childcare. Opportunities need to be made available to them
to combine training and family commitments in such a way so as avoid
overburdening. Companies can also initiate measures to reduce the number
of drop-outs or unsuccessful training participants. These may include
improving the recruitment procedure, training conditions and training
allowances as well as providing better support to trainees during the
- 1 The study conducted by Schöngen (2003) allowed respondents to state multiple reasons.
- 2 The term "dual vocational education and training" refers in every case to training that takes place pursuant to the Vocational Training Act or the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code.
- 3 The benefit of using Kaplan-Meier estimates is that all persons who have progressed to dual vocational education and training can be included, even if they have only recently commenced training (right-censored cases). A practically oriented description of the Kaplan-Meier procedure is contained in Beicht/Friedrich/Ulrich 2008.
- 4 The limit of 36 months was necessary due to the fact that there are only relatively few occupations, exclusively of a private-sector technical nature, that have a period of training longer than 42 months. If 42 months had been included, the Kaplan-Meier estimate for the last six months would have been based on a very small number of cases involving specialist occupations. This could have distorted the overall result considerably.
- 5 The differences shown in the Kaplan-Meier estimates according to school leaving qualification and gender are, however, each highly significant in the usual tests (log-rank test, Breslow test and Tarone-Ware test).
- 6 Persons whose training was not yet ended at the time of the survey are not included here.
- 7 Information on school marks was only available for the general school most recently attended, not, however, for education and training courses attended at a later date within the transitional system for which a school leaving certificate was obtained.
- 8 Consideration needs to be accorded to the fact that subjective evaluation of training may be influenced by the training process itself, particularly when expectations that were originally positive have not been met.
- 9 The aim was for the first model to contain objective characteristics only. For this reason, subjective evaluation of the training occupation was not initially included.
- 10 Only the results of the regression models that are significant at a level of at least 10% are addressed here.
- 11 Uniquely in East Germany, there was in the past a significant proportion of "market disadvantaged" young people who failed to obtain a company-based training place purely because of the regional training market situation.
- 12 No significant influences can be demonstrated for the other characteristics included in Model 1 - region of residence of the young people, occupational status of the father and occupational area of training.
- 13 The limit of 24 months was necessary due to the fact that the data of the 2011 BIBB Transitional Study contains too few cases with a longer period of observation since the end of first dual training without achieving a qualification.
- 14 This difference is not significant in each of the tests usually conducted in Kaplan-Meier estimates (log-rank test, Breslow test and Tarone-Ware test).
- 15 The difference according to gender is only significant at the 10% level in the Breslow test, which gives greater weighting to the early phases of observation.
- 16 The advantages of a Cox regression as opposed to a logistical regression is that the analysis is additionally informed by the period of time until re-progression as well as whether re-progression to training has taken place or not.
- 17 The stricter limit of the period of observation to 18 months was necessary in order to obtain a sufficiently large number of cases. For a sequential pattern analysis, information needs to be available for the whole of the period of observation. Unlike the Kapler-Meier estimates and the Cox regressions, a consideration of cases in which the period from the end of training until the time of the survey (right-censored cases) is not possible here.
- 18 This took place using the optimal matching technique followed by clustering. For information on sequential pattern analysis, cf. Erzberger/Prein (1997).
- 19 The proportion of persons to be attributed to this group is 42%, lower than the proportion of re-progressions estimated according to the Kaplan-Meier method (48%). This is mainly due to the differing duration of the periods of observation. In the sequential pattern analysis, period of observation was only 18 months whereas the period applied in the Kaplan-Meier estimate was 24 months.
- 20 Consideration needs to be accorded to fact that general military service for young men has been abolished and that the latter type of destination therefore plays no role at present.
- 21 For information on the Higher Education Statistics cf. Heublein et al. (2012).
Translations of the titles, authorship details and publication references of German language literature are intended merely as an indication of the contents of these works and of the nature of the source and do not necessarily suggest that these works are available in English.
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Möglichkeiten und Grenzen von Ausbildungsverlaufsanalysen mit der neuen Berufsbildungsstatistik: das Beispiel (Ausbildungsunterbrechung) Vertragsauflösung [Possibilities and limits of training history analyses using the new Vocational Education and Training Statistics: the example of (training interruption) contract dissolution].
In: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung [Federal Ministry of Education and Research] (Ed.): Vertiefende Studien zu ausgewählten Aspekten der Indikatorenentwicklung für den nationalen Bildungsbericht, Bildungsforschung [Detailed studies on selected aspects of the development of indicators for the National Education Report] Volume 35. Bonn, Berlin 2011, pp. 187-228
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In: Zeitschrift für Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik [Journal of Vocational and Business Education] 108 (2012) 4, pp. 494-510
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Ausbildungsabbruch. Einblick in eine vermeintliche Randerscheinung des deutschen Bildungssystems [Training drop-out. Insights into what is supposed to be a marginal aspect of the German educational system].
- Böse, Carolin; Heinke, Ruth:
Ausbildungsabbruch ist vermeidbar! VerA: Auf dem "Tandem" die Ausbildung meistern [Training drop-out is avoidable! VerA: a "tandem" that enables training to be mastered].
In: Jobstarter regional (2010) 3, pp. 5-11
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BIBB-Qualifizierungspanel [BIBB Training Panel]: Vorzeitige Lösung von Ausbildungsverträgen [Premature dissolution of training contracts], Kurzinformationen [Brief summaries] No. 2. Bonn 2012
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Jeder Vierte Azubi schmeißt seine Lehre hin [One in four trainees drop out of their apprenticeship] (by Stefan von Borstel) 25.01.2013 (http://www.welt.de/113121540)
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Teilnahmen an Abschlussprüfungen sowie Berufsabschlüsse [Participation in final examinations and vocational qualifications].
In: Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung [Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training] (Ed.): Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2013. Informationen und Analysen zur Entwicklung der beruflichen Bildung [Data Report to accompany the 2013 Report on Vocational Education and Training. Information and analyses on the development of vocational education and training]. Bonn 2013 (under preparation)
- Eberhard, Verena et al:
Perspektiven beim Übergang Schule - Berufsausbildung. Methodik und erste Ergebnisse aus der BIBB-Übergangsstudie 2011 [Prospects at the transition from school to VET. Methods and initial results of the 2011 BIBB Transitional Study]
- Erzberger, Christian; Prein, Gerald:
Optimal-Matching-Technik: Ein Analyseverfahren zur Vergleichbarkeit und Ordnung individuell differenter Lebensverläufe [Optimal matching technique. An analytical procedure for the comparability and ordering of individually different life courses].
In: ZUMA-Nachrichten (1997) 40, pp. 52-81
- Heublein, Ulrich et al.:
Die Entwicklung der Schwund- und Studienabbruchquoten an den deutschen Hochschulen [Development of shrinkage and dropout rates at German institutes of higher education].
- Jablonka, Peter:
Analyse und Dokumentation von "Ausbildungsabbrüchen in der betrieblichen Ausbildung" [Analysis and documentation of "training dropouts in company-based training"].
- Jasper, Gerda et al.:
Ausbildungsabbrüche vermeiden - neue Ansätze und Lösungsstrategien [Avoiding training dropouts - new approaches and solution strategies].
- Piening, Dorothea et al.:
Hintergründe vorzeitiger Lösungen von Ausbildungsverträgen aus der Sicht von Auszubildenden und Betrieben in der Region Leipzig [Backgrounds to premature dissolutions of training contracts from the point of view of trainees and companies in the Leipzig region].
- Piening, Dorothea; Hauschildt, Ursel; Rauner, Felix:
Lösung von Ausbildungsverträgen aus Sicht von Auszubildenden und Betrieben. Eine Studie im Auftrag der Industrie- und Handelskammer Osnabrück-Emsland [Dissolutions of training contracts from the point of view of trainees and companies. A study commissioned by the Osnabrück-Emsland Chamber of Industry and Commerce].
University of Bremen, IBB year not stated.
- Quante-Brandt, Eva:
Ausbildung gestalten - Ausbildungsabbrüche vermeiden - Sozialkompetenz entwickeln [Shaping training - avoiding training dropouts - developing social competence].
In: Berufsbildung in Wissenschaft und Praxis [Vocational Training in Research and Practice] 34 (2005) 6, pp. 36-39
- Schmid, Evi:
Kritisches Lebensereignis "Lehrvertragsauflösung". Eine Längsschnittuntersuchung zum Wiedereinstieg und zum subjektiven Wohlbefinden betroffener Jugendlicher [The dissolution of an apprenticeship contract represents a critical life event. A longitudinal investigation of re-progression to training and of the subjective sense of well-being of young people affected].
- Schöngen, Klaus:
Ausbildungsvertrag gelöst = Ausbildung abgebrochen? Ergebnisse einer Befragung [Training contract dissolved = training dropout? Results of a survey]
In: Berufsbildung in Wissenschaft und Praxis [Vocational Training in Research and Practice], 32 (2003) 5, pp. 35-39
- Stalder, Barbara E.; Schmid, Evi:
Zurück zum Start? Berufswahlprozesse und Ausbildungserfolg nach Lehrvertragsauflösungen [Back to square one? Career choice processes and training success following apprenticeship contract dissolutions]. In: Bergman, Manfred Max et al. (Eds.): Bildung - Arbeit - Erwachsenwerden. Ein interdisziplinärer Blick auf die Transition im Jugend- und jungen Erwachsenenalter [Education - work - becoming an adult. An interdisciplinary look at transition in young people and young adults].
Wiesbaden 2012, pp. 265-285
- Stamm, Margrit:
Zur Rolle des Betriebs beim Ausbildungsabbruch [On the role of the company in training dropouts].
In: Zeitschrift für Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik [Journal of Vocational and Business Education] 108 (2012) 1, pp. 18-27
- Uhly, Alexandra:
Vorzeitige Lösung von Ausbildungsverträgen [Premature dissolution of training contracts]. In: Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung [Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training] (Ed.): Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2013. Informationen und Analysen zur Entwicklung der beruflichen Bildung [Data Report to accompany the 2013 Report on Vocational Education and Training. Information and analyses on the development of vocational education and training].
Bonn 2013 (in preparation)
- Wenzelmann, Felix; Lemmermann, Heike:
Betriebliche Kosten von Vertragslösungen [Company costs of contract dissolutions].
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Imprint BIBB REPORT
Imprint: 7. Volume 7, Issue 21, June 2013
ISSN Internet: 1866-7279
ISSN Print: 1865-0821
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