With astonishing rates of youth unemployment across many european member states, policy makers are increasingly called into action in order to tackle a generational plague affecting both european youth, and the overall prosperity of the continent.
The observation that countries with low youth unemployment rates are those where Vocational Education and Training (VET) and apprenticeship programmes are more developed is driving the debate on effective education policies, and puts an emphasis on VET and apprenticeships as key instruments in tackling youth unemployment.
Apprenticeships are believed to promote a smoother transition from school to work for young people, giving them a good start to their working careers.
To test these claims, this ThinkYoung and Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies report investigates young people’s perceptions on the effective provision of VET schemes in 6 major European countries (the UK, Spain, Germany, Austria, France and Italy) and their role in addressing youth unemployment.
The report sheds light on young people’s initial perception and attractiveness of VET, the determinants of choosing a VET based educational path, the experience and perceived quality of VET instruction, as well as options for skills transferability and sector mobility. This is done through a comparison of the ndings from those who graduate from such programmes, and those pursuing a general education track.
Determinants of educational choice and VET attractiveness
• The most common information source when deciding which educational programme to pursue is individual research (70% in France and 66% in Austria). While school career advice is low internationally, it is particularly unused in Spain with only 8% of respondents stating this was a main contributor to their educational choice.
• On the whole VET students are influenced more by school guidance when compared to their non-VET counterparts.
• Across the board the prevailing view is that higher education is a more prestigious education choice. This viewpoint is particularly dominant in the UK.
• The chance to earn while learning is a key determinant of choosing VET in Austria (43%) and Germany (41%), while the ability to work while learning is important in Spain (41%).