Press release

Dual training attractive for those doubtful about the benefits of pursuing higher education

BIBB student survey on the attractiveness of vocational training

04/2016 | Bonn, 28.01.2016

Dual training attractive for those doubtful about the benefits of pursuing higher education

The results of a student survey on the attractiveness of vocational education and training conducted by the University of Maastricht in conjunction with the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) show that around a third of students doubt that they will successfully complete the course of higher education study they are currently undertaking. About 30% believe that training in the dual system is an attractive alternative. The survey was carried out online in September 2015 and en-compassed more than 12,000 students at German institutes of higher education. The fact that the survey also revealed that almost one student in three could image reorienting towards a dual course of study demonstrates that there is considerable overall interest in an educational pathway that offers company-based elements and specific career prospects.

On the whole, students take a positive view of dual vocational education and training. They accord it an above-average rating of 3.72 on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high). However, significant differences emerge when students are asked to evaluate specific occupations. Amongst the occupations included in the survey, the best image is enjoyed by information technology specialist, medical assistant and forest manager. By way of contrast, the reputation of occupations such as industrial cleaner, hairdresser and management assistant for retail services is comparatively poor.

The results of the survey also show that there are further factors which may spark a higher degree of interest in vocational education and training. Around 80% of respondents who doubt the benefits of higher education study and previously did not view VET as an option state that it would be easier for them to opt for dual training if they were given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the firm or company beforehand by taking part in a paid practical placement. 69% still make the same statement in light of the prospect of such a placement being offered in the form of an unpaid internship. In the event of a switch to dual vocational education and training, it is important to this group of persons questioning the value of higher education that learning completed thus far should count towards the final examination (81%) or else that they should receive a credit transfer to shorten the duration of training (also 81%).

The survey group of around 12,000 was also asked about what they expected to gain from a training qualification as compared to a higher education degree. With regard to job security, a large proportion of respondents (41%) believed that vocational and academic qualifications offered equal chances of secure employment. 38% of students even believe that VET provides an advantage in this respect, whilst only 21% thought the same applied in the case of higher education.

However, dual vocational education and training fares worse when it comes to social prestige and pay-ment. 56% of students think that a higher education degree provides better social status than a vocational training qualification, whilst the corresponding figure regarding remuneration is 51%.

The background to the study is the ongoing debate centring on possibilities to integrate higher education drop-outs into vocational training. The drop-out rate in Bachelor courses of study remains high and currently stands at 28%. Together with a rising number of unfilled training places in the dual system, this has led over recent years to the introduction of more programmes aimed at encouraging those who leave higher education early to enter vocational training. The objective of this approach, which is mainly being pursued via the “JOBSTARTER plus” programme funded by the chambers and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), is to help counter the skilled workers shortages which are predicted, particularly in the medium qualifications area.

A more detailed presentation of the results of the survey complete with figures and tables is avaialble on the BIBB website at www.bibb.de/de/34440.php.

Contact partners at BIBB:
Barbara Hemkes
Kim-Maureen Wiesner

Reprint free of charge – voucher copy requested.

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