In an earlier article we looked at school children’s aspirations for VET study.

This time we look at what actually happens as they transition from school into VET. Earlier this year NCVER published a summary of recent research entitled “From school to VET: choices, experiences and outcomes”. It not only summarises research, but also draws on NCVER’s surveys data and its provider collection.

So what did they look at?

What is known is that:

“The post-school transition can be a complex process and many recent school leavers struggle to engage with post-school education or find adequate employment.”

So, to investigate this transition process into VET study the paper explores three questions:

What influences young people to undertake VET post-school?
What factors support young people to complete VET?
What are their outcomes following participation in VET?

This is what was found about “choosing VET, studying VET and post-study outcomes”.

Choosing VET

As the earlier newsletter article suggests, gender stereotyping about a suitable career path is a factor especially for apprenticeships, and particularly in male dominated trades. So, age-appropriate interventions are needed while at school.

Many school students respond well to the practical, hands-on nature of VET and can find it a secure path to quality employment. However, they also have to overcome the stigma associated with considering VET as a post-school pathway. Student choices are influenced by family, friends and teachers. Unfortunately, VET is also seen as the only option for low achievers. So further work is needed to investigate the countries or areas where VET is seen as an option equal to university, or where the stigma associated with VET has successfully been eliminated.

Studying in VET, and supporting those doing it

“Supporting recent school leavers in VET begins with the first point of contact they have with the VET system. Students continually underscore the importance of being treated in a welcoming and friendly manner, and being able to connect with staff who have their interests in mind.”

Students often need individual support. VET staff need to be able to identify and address individual needs. These needs may be academic, and early school leavers often require learning, literacy and numeracy support. For others, their needs relate to their wellbeing and require referral to outside services. Importantly, a number of key diversity groups need research attention.

The post-study outcomes

The paper found that “post-completion outcomes for recent school leavers in the VET system are very similar to the rest of the VET student population, with the majority of recent school leavers reporting employment and personal benefit from completing their VET course.” However, school leavers seem to seek more personal benefits from VET than other student groups. They use VET to access further study opportunities or to gain confidence.

But we know you want more!

If you are interested in the issue of youth transitions from education and training to work or from secondary education to further education and training see NCVER’s Pod on the topic.