Choice of education and training pathways during the transition from school to the labour market. Factors determining the choice of occupation and the likelihood of completing a chosen VET programme (DAB-IV)

University of Bern, Institute of Educational Science

Lead researcher:
Prof. Dr. Rolf Becker, Dr. David Glauser & Sara Möser
Duration: 01.11.2019 – 30.06.2024

Background: DAB-IV follows from previous surveys conducted as part of the DAB Panel Study of school-to-work transitions of cohorts from the year 2013 in the German-speaking region of Switzerland. The young people chosen have been monitored since their eighth year of schooling (i.e. just prior to commencement of lower secondary school) and so far have taken part in seven survey rounds. These surveys are intended to ascertain their current training situation, prior training history as well as their training and career aspirations.

Objectives and research questions: With the DAB Panel Study, a theoretical and empirical evaluation of life prospects sought to clarify relevant questions (arising from education and mobility research as well as from labour market and occupational research) that could not be addressed and analysed on the basis of the longitudinal data available in Switzerland. The longitudinal approach focuses on the reconstruction of career choices and training decisions (including their social mechanisms) from an action theory perspective, with special attention being given to the social contexts in which young people find themselves (parental home, school class, peers, neighbourhood, region), the regional opportunity structures (industries, companies, regional training opportunities) and social development (structural change in the workplace, demand for qualifications, general institutional conditions for vocational education and training, the ‘return on investment’ of various educational qualifications as well as general economic conditions). The follow-up to the DAB Panel Study (DAB-IV) includes questions regarding the structure of post-compulsory educational achievement (successful pursuit of desired training, discontinuity of vocational education and training and subsequent upgrading of skills), regarding labour market entry (access to open-ended employment, employment in line with the training received, perceived fit and ‘return on investment’ in vocational education and training) as well as regarding the trajectory of employment during the first few years of working life. The focus here will be on structural changes in the workplace, the causes and consequences of mental and physical health issues and gender disparities.

Methodology: With this DAB-IV study, a total of four surveys will be conducted. Two main surveys will be conducted in the spring of 2020 and 2023 using a mixed-mode design: online questionnaires, computer assisted telephone interviews (CATI) and pen-and-paper personal interviews (PAPI) will be used to gather information from respondents about their subsequent educational and professional trajectories. In addition to the detailed documentation of objective information, a key area of interest will be the subjective perception that respondents have of their individual situation. Complementary surveys will be conducted in 2021 and 2022 on the issues of subjective well-being, gender disparities and career planning.