Development and Promotion of Career Preparedness among Adolescents

University of Bern

Lead Researcher: Prof. Dr. Andreas Hirschi

Duration: 01.11.2016 – 28.02.2021

Research questions: The project aims to examine how career preparedness develops prior to transitioning to vocational education and training (VET), who is more or less likely to develop what type of career preparedness, for whom is career preparedness more or less important, what effect career preparedness has on work adjustment in VET and later professional development, and how career preparedness can be enhanced by career guidance.

Hypotheses: The researchers expect that the development of career preparedness is significantly related to a range of socio-demographic (e.g., gender, socio-economic status) and personality factors (e.g., proactivity) and that career preparedness is important for a successful transition to VET and for work adjustment, especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We [the applicants] further propose that career preparedness can be enhanced by career guidance interventions.

Research design: The researchers use a panel design to assess the development of career preparedness prior to the transition to VET with six assessment points in grade eight and nine, and examine work adjustment at the end of the first year of VET. We [the applicants] will link the new data with existing data sets from a previous own project and from the TREE study. In addition, we [the applicants] will conduct a field experiment to evaluate how career preparedness can be changed by career guidance interventions and what effect such changes have on subsequent work adjustment.

Instruments: The researchers will apply a range of established self-report measures. In addition, we [the applicants] will develop a new screening instrument for career preparedness among students.

Objectives: The project aims to increase our understanding regarding the functioning of key non-cognitive factors (i.e., career preparedness) for a successful transition to VET and for work adjustment. The researchers will also improve knowledge about the individual leeway in choosing a vocation by investigating how career preparedness is dependent upon macro-level factors. Finally, the researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of career guidance to systematically increase career preparedness and promote work success.

Sought after benefits for the steering and further development of VPET and VPET research: This project will identify the key socio-economic, psychological, and behavioural factors that promote success in the transition to VET and later work adjustment, provide a new concise screening instrument of career preparedness among students, and develop and evaluate a career guidance intervention to increase career preparedness.

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