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

Two-year programmes for the Federal VET Certificate were introduced in 2004 with the hope that standardisation of training content would improve the employability of low-threshold learners and their transition to higher levels of training. For young people who are unable to overcome the various obstacles, the professional organisation representing the interests of institutions for the disabled (INSOS) launched its own practical training programme. Since then, it has been possible to take stock of both types of training (Kammermann, Amos, Hofmann, & Hättich, 2009; Kammermann, Hübscher, & Scharnhorst, 2009; Sempert & Kammermann, 2010; Stern, Marti, von Stokar, & Ehrler, 2010). This study takes an in-depth look at the training situation and quality and their subsequent impact on occupational integration. Three aspects will be taken into consideration:

Current suitability of learners and training options and the question of how well-suited current training options are to the target group.
Apprenticeship contract termination as a sign of unsuitability: what are the reasons and consequences of apprenticeship contract terminations and what support can be provided to those affected?
Career prospects and transitions to the labour market: how well-integrated are qualification holders in their chosen occupation and to what extent do they take advantage of the option to pursue higher levels of training.

In preparation for this study, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) commissioned and funded a qualitative preliminary study with the aim of gathering input from experts (researchers and practitioners at cantonal level as well as professional organisations) to clarify substantive and methodological questions and feasibility (e.g. research needs, survey planning and organisational aspects). Based on input obtained thus far, the experts feel that there is still a need for in-depth analysis of the situation of the two low-threshold training options: two-year VET programmes and practical training.

The main study will consist of a qualitative longitudinal survey carried out at three survey periods followed by a more in-depth qualitative study. The longitudinal survey is intended to enable analysis of correlations between different starting conditions and subsequent occupational integration. The qualitative survey will focus on the relationships between the various actors in the field and their subjective assessments of the situation. The two surveys will take place in the German- and French-speaking regions of Switzerland and will be jointly conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET) in Renens and the Intercantonal College for Therapeutic Pedagogy in Zurich.