Situation of learners in low-threshold training and subsequent transitions

Intercantonal College for Therapeutic Pedagogy (HfH)
Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET)

Lead researchers:
Prof. Dr. Kurt Häfeli, Dr. Claudia Hofmann (HfH)
Dr. Barbara Duc, Dr. Nadia Lamamra (SFIVET)

Duration: 01.07.2016 – 30.06.2019

There are currently only two low-threshold options in Switzerland for young people coming out of lower-secondary education: two-year programmes for the Federal VET Certificate and a practical training programme designed for young people who are unable to attend a two-year VET programme. The latter was designed by a professional organisation that represents the interests of institutions for the handicapped (INSOS). The present study is intended to shed light on various aspects: the fit between learners and training options; the reasons for and subsequent impact of early termination of apprenticeship contracts; as well as employment prospects and transitions to the labour market after completion of training. In this study, a mixed-methods design was used: a quantitative longitudinal analysis of 966 learners and a qualitative study involving 37 interviews.

The research findings on the fit between learners and training options show that the previous schooling of the learners surveyed was very heterogeneous and that their entry to training programmes had been considerably delayed. Nevertheless, most learners reported a high level of satisfaction and experienced a relatively low burden both at school and during workplace training. This seems to indicate a good fit between the training and the various needs of learners. In the group of learners who experienced early termination of their apprenticeship contracts, the unsatisfactory choice of occupation or health issues led to a mismatch between learners and training options. While most of the learners in question managed to find an alternative training programme, a substantial number remained without employment or training despite support measures. In terms of occupational integration following completion of training, research found that around 79% of those who completed the two-year programme for the Federal VET Certificate and 86% of those who completed the INSOS practical training programme found either employment or enrolled in subsequent training.

Both programmes have therefore proven to be adaptive and offer opportunities to learners who have to contend with different types of problems. There is nevertheless room for improvement with regard to the coordination of support measures and the level of acceptance of these programmes among learners and companies.