Strategies for the training of persons with little or no educational background

BIBB analysis of wbmonitor results provides impetus

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Persons with little or no educational background participate comparatively rarely in continuing education and training. Increasing this participation is a key challenge at a time when there is a shortage of skilled workers and when unskilled jobs are becoming increasingly automated. The findings of the wbmonitor survey of continuing education and training providers conducted by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) provide new ideas for potentially effective strategies aimed at overcoming barriers in this area and being better able to exploit potential. More than 800 responses were received and have resulted in six areas for action:

  • Information, Counselling, Approach
    It is critically important to reach the target group and to create awareness. In addition to targeted public relations work, individuals acting as intermediaries who are closest to the persons with little or no educational background(for example individuals from their surroundings or social workers), could help to facilitate access to these individuals. The providers surveyed also regarded outreach counselling and training provision as sensible. This can be used, for example, to initiate contact with the affected individuals in their own environment.
  • Target-group specific concepts and design of provision
    Above all, low threshold access which takes into account the alienation from learning of many persons with little or no educational background and a relaxation of timing requirements from an organisational perspective are cited as important points.
  • State funding
    The providers surveyed call for an optimisation of existing funding structures, and a reduction in red tape in particular. Funding instruments should be simplified and made more accessible for the target group.
  • Motivation, incentives, prospects
    Respondents explained that, in order to bring about a more positive attitude of those affected towards participation in continuing education and training, it was important to clearly highlight that professional and financial prospects would be improved. Ideally there should be the definite prospect of a job offer or of advancement.
  • Supervision, support, coaching
    In order to achieve a more stable lifestyle for those affected, continuing education and training providers advocate accompanying social-educational support. Targeted learning support might also help those alienated from learning to participate in education and training.
  • Cooperation and networking
    Cooperation structures might help to gain access to the target group and to align qualification provision to company requirements.

Persons with little or no educational background – i.e. those individuals who, due to a range of disadvantages, rarely participate in institutionalized education and training and the majority of whom possess very few training and professional qualifications –participate in organised continuing education and training measures around half so often as academics. This much less frequent participation results in educational disadvantage which continues into lifelong learning. One key problem is the negative attitude towards (continuing) education and training.

The wbmonitor results illustrate the complexity involved in seeking to introduce this target group to training; a long-term and holistic approach is required. In the view of the BIBB authors, the findings from the survey advocate a fundamental intensification of information activities, for example using an image campaign in social media adapted for the target group, mobile guidance services or even coordinated cooperation structures between stakeholders involved (funding bodies, providers, social work organisations, companies). The continuing education and training measures themselves should be set up to be low threshold and practical, implemented with small group sizes, and, where possible, with parallel social and educational supervision and learning support. Regarding simplified access to funding instruments, however, the problem of the targeted use of public funding also arises.

wbmonitor is the largest annual survey of continuing education and training providers in Germany. The cooperation project between the BIBB and the German Institute for Adult Education [Deutsches Institut für Erwachsenenbildung (DIE)] – Leibniz Centre for Lifelong Learning aims, in particular, to create greater transparency across the complex landscape of continuing education and Training.

For further information the article “Strategies for the training of persons who have become distanced from education from a provider point of view” from the BIBB specialist journal “Vocational Training in Research and Practice – BWP” issue 1/2018 is available at https://www.bibb.de/en/76851.php

Point of contact: Stefan Koscheck; Email: koscheck@bibb.de

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