University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), Centre for Learning and Socialisation
Lead researcher: Prof. Markus Neuenschwander
Duration: 15.12.2010 - 15.12.2013
The research project "Socialisation processes during transition to host companies" (SoLe) should shed light on how lower secondary schools and host companies are able to support the socialisation process of young people during the transition to apprenticeships in upper-secondary level VET programmes. Such socialisation increases the chances of successful training. The basis for this research project is a further developed model of occupational socialisation among newcomers, which refers to work done by Kammeyer-Mueller und Wanberg (2003). We draw a distinction between two types of occupational socialisation: a) social integration and conflicts and b) handling occupational tasks and achieving learning progress.
A total of 550 young people were surveyed at the end of the 9th school year (final year of lower-secondary school and the end of compulsory education in Switzerland) and then contacted again each moth during the first semester of their VET programme. Key concepts were identified from the perspective of learners, parents, VET school teachers and trainers at host companies.
Process analyses show that the expected perception of compatibility between learners and the workplace, the sense of satisfaction with the occupation as well as the intention to complete the VET programme all remained stable six months after learners began their apprenticeships. The level of social integration within the host company makes it easier for learners to carry out their tasks and reinforces the perception of compatibility, the level of satisfaction at work, the intention to complete the VET programme as well as the feeling of commitment towards the occupation and the host company. An iterative cluster analysis of formal orientation programmes, feedback and relationship between learners and VET trainers showed that occupational socialisation tactics favour the process of occupational socialisation for less focussed young people.
The results also show, however, the great importance of how young people finish lower secondary school: decisive predictors of successful occupational socialisation are not the grades obtained in the 9th school year but rather the indicators for successful social behaviour in the classroom, good relations with teachers and parents and successful choice of occupation.
All in all, the analysis of occupational socialisation at the start of apprenticeships was both innovative and informative. Subsequent research should focus more extensively on the importance that occupational socialisation during the early phase has on training progress. There is a need for intervention studies showing how young people may be prepared for occupational socialisation. In the future, the concept of occupational socialisation should be defined more clearly and explicitly covered to a greater extent in the planning of training.