Much research is done on the impact of vocational education and training (VET) systems on youth’s transition from school to work. However, this research treats vocational education within countries as a homogeneous entity and as if the ‘vocational effect’ equally applies to the entire VET system, while nuanced insights in the within-country heterogeneity of the vocational impact are remarkably scattered. This study attempts to open this black box by investigating to what extent the vocational specificity of educational programs has a positive impact on having a paid job and experiencing immediate job entry and job matching among recently graduated VET school-leavers in the Netherlands. Additionally, we theorize and test the moderating role of regional youth unemployment rates. Unique to this study are the two vocational measurements of programs, which were obtained by assessments of professionals involved in the programs (e.g. teachers, managers, education coordinators). Using data from the VET survey and VET expert survey – covering 114 educational programs between 2010 and 2014 – our multilevel models generally show a positive vocational impact of programs on youth’s labor market opportunities. Unexpectedly, the vocational impact does not vary with regional youth unemployment rates. We reflect on our findings within the context of current school-to-work literature.
SOURCE: Muja, A. Blommaert, L. Gesthuizen, M. Wolbers, M. “The vocational impact of educational programs on youth labor market integration.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 5 November 2019.
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