Individual and contextual determinants of vocational choice and entrance into vocational education and training (WiSel II)

University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), Center for Learning and Socialization

Lead researcher: Prof. Dr. Markus P. Neuenschwander

Duration: 01.11.2015 - 31.5.2020

Young people start thinking about future career choices at lower secondary level. In interaction with their parents and teachers adolescents explore vocational options that fit with their competences and interests. The primary theoretical basis of this study is Lent, Brown and Hackett’s cognitive social career theory (1994), which is adapted to the institutional structure of the Swiss education system. This study investigates the individual and contextual determinants of vocational choice and entry into vocational education and training.

The study continues the SNSF project ‘Effects of selection (WiSel I)’ as a longitudinal study with two additional measurement time points, involving 2,323 adolescents. Information on actions and attitudes to the vocational choice process, as well as related contextual factors, were collected using standardized questionnaires in 9th grade. One year later, in spring 2017, a combination of questionnaires and computer assisted telephone interviews have been conducted to survey young people’s experiences in their vocational programmes and whether their career choices proved to be successful.

The project will enable to work more appropriate theoretical models of vocational choice and entry into vocational training. In practical terms, the project is expected to generate a useful basis for schools and occupational guidance counselling, but also for VPET management and host companies.