02 SES 05 B, Competence in VET: Transitions in Perspectives
Within the Lisbon Agenda of the European Union financing of lifelong learning is regarded as key factor to enhance participation in adult education and training (AET) (Commission of the European Communities 2003). The financing structure in the field of AET is characterized by public and private spending and various financing models are discussed in order to provide a sufficient level of participation and to avoid underinvestment (e.g. Falch & Oosterbeek 2011). Cross-country comparisons show that participation rates vary considerably between western industrialized countries and so do the proportions of public and private spending. These variations can be related to inter alia structural differences in the educational system and other institutional factors (Brunello 2001, Bassanini et al. 2005) as well as to varying degrees of public support in overcoming barriers to participation in AET (Rubenson & Desjardins 2009). However, three major financial sources are prevalent in all countries: companies investing in their employees learning activities; individuals who pay for the participation in AET; and different ways of public funding. In Germany, companies and employees are the main financing source for job related training in the employed workforce; the first bearing a higher proportion of the direct costs than the latter. Public funding has a minor part (Kuckulenz 2007).
In line with human capital theory, different sources of funding imply different anticipated returns of investment and thus different logics of investment (e.g. Becker 1980). This theoretical assumption is further supported and developed in theories of segmented labour markets, in which learning on the job or participation in further education are regarded as a principal element of internal labour markets within large companies and the civil service, thus providing beneficial opportunity structures for AET. Whereas, in occupational labour markets it is the employees themselves who provide for AET. On the external labour market for a lack of returns, neither employers nor their employees have incentives to invest in AET (e.g. Doeringer & Piore 1971).
Differentiating segments of AET according to the source of financing, analyses show participation patterns that correspond to the theoretical assumptions above. Participation in company-sponsored AET is by far the largest segment. Participation is more likely for employees in the public sector or in large firms and altogether depends foremost on characteristics related to the company and employment context. Whereas the likelihood to participate in individual financed AET is predicted best by individual characteristics such as the educational level, age and sex amongst others (Schömann 2013:105, Brunello et al. 2007). Furthermore, sources of financing can overlap. In this segment of co-financed AET, both employers and employees invest in participation either monetarily or in the form of time (during/outside working hours). In this case, company-related and individual influencing factors concurrently shape participation patterns. Corresponding to segmentation theories the mobility of participation between different segments is rather low: If individuals participate in more than one learning activity, in the great majority the accumulation of participation takes place within one segment (Kaufmann/Widany 2013). In addition to varying patterns of selectivity regarding participation, the three segments also vary according to certain characteristics, e.g. aim, scope, costs.
The paper investigates the selectivity of participation in job-related AET, taking into account different segments according to the source of financing. A longitudinal perspective will gain additional insight as the accumulation of single participations can be observed in the course of time. Thereby, it is of special interest if the accumulation is persistent within one segment of further education as suggested by segmentation theory. Furthermore, if transitions between different segments occur, it will be investigated how these participations can be related against the backdrop of the employment context.
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